POINT PLEASANT — The drafting and welding students at the Mason County Career Center (MCCC) have been hard at work on a project not only for credit in their classes, but to also help their community.
Stephen Littlepage, Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation president, shared Mason County Fair Board Member Curtis McConihay recently applied for a grant through the Claflin Foundation in order to re-do the hog pens at the Mason County Fairgrounds. Through the acceptance of the grant, the Mason County Fair Board members, the board members of the Claflin Foundation, and the Mason County Career Center welding and drafting students and staff are collaborating on the project. Littlepage explained there are five different sets of hog pens to be worked on and the first two sets need to be completely replaced as they are in the worst condition. For this year’s fair, the drafting and welding students will be working on the first two set of hog pens which will be 56 new hog pens.
McConihay commented this was the second year he had applied for this grant. The first year, the project cost was going to be around $42,000 for a “store bought” price of hog pens, but this year because of the collaboration with the students and staff at MCCC, the entire project will only be around $30,000. The initial cost of the first two sets of hog pens is approximately $13,000.
The old hog pens at the fair were in bad shape, commented Littlepage. Mason County Fair Board President Shawn Paugh explained the old pens have been out at the fairgrounds since he was a child and were made of wood and these new pens are being constructed with metal. Paugh commented the new design prototype of the hog pens are “perfect.”
Brent Hereford, MCCC Welding Technology instructor, shared his students are in the assembly process of the hog pen project right now which has been going on for the past three weeks. Towards the end of May, the installation process of the hog pen project will begin after the hog pens are power coded. As with the other classes at MCCC with the classroom environments being styled as a simulated work place, Hereford commented his students have been working on this project as if it was their daily job. Some of the students have shown so much passion with their work they volunteered to work on the hog pen project over their spring break.
“It’s a big project,” said Hereford. “They enjoy being here so much they’d stay here all day long if I let them and these projects really reinforce that and they really get the students engaged.”
Stephen Richardson, MCCC Drafting instructor, explained his drafting students collaborate on several projects with the welding students as well as other classes at MCCC. For the hog pen project, the drafting students did the design work and then the welding students took that design to the fabrication. During the designing process there were approximately three to four re-designs that had to be done until the perfect prototype was created.
The collaboration of this project began in January.
“We’re (Claflin Foundation board members) delighted because the two grants which were rather large in nature that we did for the drafting department and the welding department, now, we’re seeing some fruits of the grant process,” said Littlepage. “It’s well and good to go and provide this equipment or whatever it is we provided through the grants to these departments that’s well and good for their training, but to have a practical application to something that another organization that has asked for money from us that we’ve done a grant on, it is just wonderful to see the interconnection here. I’m just thrilled to death that the drafting department and the welding department got together and that between the two of them they got together with another organization we’re involved with…it’s what I’ve always hoped we could do, you know, by being a funding source of a grant project to see it have more than just one use, it goes on and on and on.”
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.