GHS, Black Lumber partnership will raise funds for class

Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Greencastle High School introduction to construction students work to complete a mini barn as part of a class project. Besides providing hands-on experience, the barns are also being used as a fundraiser for the class to fund future projects, with Black getting back the cost of materials then giving the rest to the class.
Courtesy photo

When Greencastle High School engineering and technology teacher Ande Warren asked Black Lumber Co. to partner on a project for one of his classes, general manager Alison Beauchamp jumped at the chance.

Warren’s idea was for Black to supply the materials for his introduction to construction class to build a mini barn. The barn would then be returned to Black for the Indiana Street retailer to sell.

Beauchamp liked the idea, but something wasn’t right — the idea that her company, and not the kids, would profit from the endeavor.

“That wasn’t sitting well with me,” Beauchamp said, noting that state funding isn’t good for education in general and even worse for building trade classes.

So Beauchamp contacted Warren with a counter offer: The sheds would return to Black Lumber to be sold, the company would recoup the cost of materials and the profit would be returned to the class for the purchase of tools and supplies.

“Ande is bringing in his own tools,” Beauchamp noted. “That’s how bad this program needs funding.”

Warren and his students were thrilled.

“We were so very excited and happy and thought it was a very very gracious gesture,” Warren said. “It is so very appreciated.”

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Thus, a partnership was born. The lumber and other materials for the shed were delivered to GHS in late February, along with Stanley FatMax tap measures, aprons and pencils for each of the students.

The program provides necessary experience for a class of this nature.

“Construction is a course offering hands-on activities and real world experiences related to the skills essential in residential construction,” Warren said. “They will also learn and apply knowledge of the care and safe use of hand and power tools as related to each trade. In addition, students are introduced to blueprint reading, applied math, basic tools and equipment usage, and safety.”

The class spent the last month working on the 8-foot-by-8-foot gambrel storage shed, which was nearing completion as of the beginning of spring break.

With only one period a day for the students to work, Beauchamp is impressed how quickly it has come together.

“The fact that this is their first one, I was really surprised at how quick it went up,” Beauchamp said. “They’re doing really well.”

Beyond the literal building of the barn, Warren is also emphasizing the technical side of construction.

“Students will demonstrate building construction techniques,” Warren said. “Students learn how architectural ideas are converted into projects and how projects are managed during a construction project in this course. Students also investigate topics related to the purchasing and maintenance of structures, special purpose facilities, green construction and construction careers.”

The first mini barn model won’t even go up for sale, as a Greencastle school official has already purchased it.

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In the future, though, Mike Johnson will be hauling the finished products back to Black Lumber, where they will be available for purchase — $999.99 unfinished or $1,099.99 painted or stained.

The class will likely complete one more shed before the school year is out, with the plan to do several in 2018-19.

With the profits from the first sale, Warren already has a plan in place to beautify the school.

“Our first plan was to work on a landscape design for our GHS courtyard,” Warren said. “Students would work through a beautification project with the money we earn from the construction of the sheds. We would use our students’ designs, construction skills and landscaping knowledge and make the space a more inviting outdoor space for our students to congregate.”

Besides supporting a school program she feels is vital, Beauchamp is also proud to support a construction class that features three female students.

“I was ecstatic when I saw there were three girls in the class. Being in a profession with so few women, that was nice to see,” Beauchamp said. “My dad taught me how to build and do these things. It’s really not taught anymore.”

The introduction to construction class at Greencastle High School takes possession of the supplies from Black Lumber to build a mini barn last month. Taking part in the project are (from left) Patrick Ruhlig, Black Lumber general Manager Alison Beauchamp, Dakota Jackson, Lizzy Hamilton, Emma Beaman, Ethan Shoemaker, Mike Garner, Chance Green, Levi Boswell, Brian Wachal, Nathan Brown, teacher Ande Warren and principal Russ Hesler.
Courtesy photo
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    Schools need to offer more opportunities like this for students.

    -- Posted by DouglasQuaid on Thu, Mar 29, 2018, at 3:41 PM
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