The completed project, in place at the Lower Campus Grove
If you’ve visited the Providence Lower Campus in the last couple of weeks, you might have noticed an exciting new development in the Grove. Lo and behold, the Providence Engineering Academy has completed its children’s playground project—and just in time for the new year!
After a couple of months, we realized that although the plans were solid, there were a lot more moving parts in the mix than could be resolved this year. Having already received our grant for materials and tools, and having a month of the school year still set aside for construction, we quickly changed tack. The students brainstormed along different lines: what could we design and build that would be small, fast, portable, safe, and a ton of fun?
Answer: the Wild West town!
In an amazing display of teamwork and ingenuity, the six students (Aaron, Tys, Sarah Jane, Kylie, Caleb, and senior Jake) quickly produced a set of plans to communicate the idea to our client and provide useful tools for estimating, purchasing, and construction.
|Front view: restaurant, shop, house|
The town would be built in two sections, each 12 feet long, about 5 feet high, and 4 feet deep. Six distinct rooms would be included: a restaurant, a general store, a residential home, a train station, a sheriff’s office, and a jail.
|Perspective: train station, sheriff, jail (CAD model unfinished)|
With approval from the Lower School, the students set to work. Bethany Bodenhamer, one of our industrious Lower School parents, negotiated with Home Depot and coordinated the deliveries of tools and lumber. Marty Robertson graciously allowed us the use of his miter saw for the entire duration of the construction. Peter Bohlinger also loaned many high quality tools used throughout the construction.
And so the work began! The backyard of the Upper Campus was converted to a scene of enthusiastic creativity. The six students, with their varying levels of experience, quickly grew in their confidence in measuring, cutting, and attaching the lumber—and always with safety eyewear, of course!
|The play structure develops over the course of several weeks|
|From left to right: Tys, Jake, Aaron, Kylie, and Caleb|
In this image, the CAD model has been added as an overlay
to help visualize the final product
Clockwise from top: Aaron, Kylie, Sarah Jane, Tys, and Caleb
show off their craftsmanship
The restaurant nears completion (left); the framing for the railway
station, sheriff, and jail is practically complete
|The reverse angle view in the backyard|
Once summer came, others pitched in to help. Visiting alumnus and founding member of the Providence Engineering Academy Gabe Clark worked alongside Jake and Tys; Mr. Hurt brought his wife (great with child) and parents; Mr. Meadth’s son Asher even lent a hand!
|Tys (in the window), Jake (middle) and Gabe helped secure the
roof and siding for the general store
|Five Hurts across three generations! This family means business|
|Dad got them started, and Asher finished them off|
A good deal of work was also done on adding finishing touches—it’s the little things that count!
A double-swinging door for the restaurant, just to give that classic
kickin’-in-the-door outlaw feel
|A sink and counter adds the homely touch|
|Solid steel bars divide the sheriff from his catch of the day|
The ticket counter for the railway station sports wrought-iron
|In case there was any mistaking which one was the sheriff’s office!|
Finally, five strong friends of the school helped Mr. Meadth load the four separate pieces and transport them to the Lower Campus—one 500 lb piece at a time. After a bit of practice, the complete round trip was timed at 40 minutes! Of course, Ms. Svoboda was on hand to document the experience.
|Ready—lift! Is that one of our new 7th Graders?|
|We certainly turned heads driving down State Street!|
|A place for everything and everything in its place!|
A final word of thanks goes out to two parties. The EnergyPartners Fund generously provided what was necessary to go out and do this. They have been loyal supports of our program for several years now, and we are indebted to them. And naturally, well done to the six young engineers who envisioned this, designed it, and sweated it out. Mack Fixler at MOXI and his high-powered laser cutter have ensured that their place of honor will stand for time immemorial.
|Thanks, EnergyPartners Fund!|
Six strangely familiar villains, immortalized through the
magic of lamination and synchronized photons
Who knows what the coming year will bring? Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog, and we’ll let you know! And go explore the Wild West town next time you’re there; you won’t be disappointed.
Til next time!