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SHS builders do their part for dog park
Students fabricated, installed pavilion roof supports
Dog Park SHS work.jpg
Statesboro High School construction students, left to right, senior Chandler Cowart, sophomore DeAngelo Perez, senior Fischer Sharp and junior Trey van den Bosch position a work scaffold Nov. 29 at the Downtown Dog Park.

Statesboro’s new Downtown Dog Park trots into 2019 not only with amenities for canines, but also two covered pavilions for their humans, thanks in part to work by Statesboro High School construction students.

Students choosing the construction pathway in CTAE, or career, technical and agricultural education, take three one-year construction-related courses. After learning industry fundamentals such as safety the first year, second-year students take Introduction to Construction. Third-year students choose a focus in electrical, masonry, plumbing or carpentry.

Working at the school, students in second- and third-year courses prefabricated the 22 roof trusses, 11 for each of the 20-foot-long pavilions. That portion of the work took about a month in 50-minute daily class sessions, said construction teacher Matthew White.

"Students all the way down to the first-year students were involved with the math part of it,” he said. “Even reading the plans that we followed, students have to learn to read those as part of the curriculum, and they have to use math."


One day onsite

The trusses had been assembled by mid-October. Then White had to coordinate with school administrators and the city of Statesboro for an off-campus student work day. The chosen date was Nov. 29, exactly one week after Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, a city Streets and Parks Division crew poured the two concrete slabs and set the 6-by-6 beams used as support posts. City workers also loaded and transported the trusses, and White loaded the school construction trailer with tools and other things needed for the job.

That Thursday, 16 second- and third-year SHS construction students worked at the dog park, off East Cherry Street beside the Willie McTell Trail.

Those who could arrived on the job soon after 8 a.m. Others came later after attending their dual-enrollment college classes. Students who rode a school bus remained until 2 p.m., and those with their own transportation worked until 3 p.m.

Afterward, White observed that his classes had performed as a subcontractor, making and installing the roof trusses for the city and the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority, or DSDA.


Learning opportunity

“You know, if it was a perfect world we'd be doing stuff like this every day for the students to get firsthand experience, but this gives them the opportunity to learn what the process is, unloading tools, organizing your setup, communicating with team members on tasks that  have  to take place,” he said.

The students fastened the 2-by-8 and 2-by-10 girders atop the posts and placed the trusses.

Then they started nailing down the 1-by-4 slats that would be topped by metal roofing. But with their time onsite running out, the student builders had to leave the rest of the slats for the city crew to place.

City streets and parks employees did not have much experience with carpentry, so they learned some things along with the students, said Streets and Parks Superintendent Robert Seamans.

“We pooled our resources with them, they did an extremely good job, and we had some learning curves that we had to go through dealing with this construction project,” he said. “We brought in the city building officials and they gave us guidance, and we also brought in another team member from over in sanitation who had a house building background.”

The city’s Beautification Commission and Tree Board, which work with Seamans’ department, obtained the pavilion plans from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. Trees have also been part of the park’s development, with six varieties planted on the 1.8-acre site.

The construction students donated their labor to the community and were paid a pizza lunch provided by the DSDA.

"We were simply just using it as a learning opportunity,” White said. “It helps with community service, helping the students understand what it means to do things as part of a community."


Finished by city

The city crew added the green metal roof panels about two weeks ago, so the pavilions are now complete. Two new, black metal picnic tables have been placed under each one, giving people sheltered places to sit in while their dogs frolic.

Two pavilions were planned because the Downtown Dog Park, which officially opened Oct. 6, is two parks in one. The left side is for smaller dogs, while the right side is for larger dogs. The main gate opens to a central passage with further gates to the two sections.

Four bench swings have also been placed in the park. Like the benches, the trash cans and dog waste receptacles match the moderate-height, black metal fencing. The Blue Mile Foundation paid for the fence, and the city’s programs provided the tables and swings, Seamans said.

Materials for the pavilions alone cost about $7,000, about $4,500 of which was donated, according to Seamans and DSDA Executive Director Allen Muldrew. A recent class of Youth Leadership Bulloch, an annual Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce program, raised a portion of the donated funds, and a brick dedication drive by the DSDA’s dog park committee continues.

“That has been a truly collaborative community effort,” Muldrew said.

When other funding becomes available, the city and its volunteer boards will consider adding two pavilions at the Marvin Avenue Park off Fair Road, Seamans said. He said he hopes to call on White and his construction classes to help with these as well, but that could be in fiscal year 2020.


Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.




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