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Vantage Building & Grounds Maintenance program marks 10 years PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 9:27 PM

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VAN WERT — The Vantage Building & Grounds Maintenance program was created in 2003 and has tackled several different projects during its 10 year existence.

In the beginning, two condemned houses were purchased by the school so Building and Grounds students could learn how to do demolition, remodeling, roofing, install windows and drywall and light carpentry skills. Once those two projects were completed, the class moved on to helping with community projects such as remodeling and siding the new Van Wert Historical Society office and gift shop, assisting with the interior demolition of the old Van Wert Armory to make room for the new Wassenburg Art Center and building picnic shelters for local organizations.

This year has already been a very busy one for the class. Students completely refurbished one of the horse barns at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds by removing the old rails and replacing them with new and more solid wood. Students built new shelves for the fairgrounds and then installed them into a storage barn for supplies.

Once again working with the Historical Society, the students are refurbishing an old traveler’s cottage, which is supposed to be the last original one in this area. The cabin was part of the former Runnion HC Gas and Tourist Cabins and was behind Dr. Wilkins veterinary clinic. Students reinforced the interior of the cottage prior to moving so it would stand the extra strain of the move. Students dug out the ground for the concrete slab for the cottage, leveled stone, squared and set the forms for the concrete. They had to calculate the amount of concrete required to fill the forms and then poured and finished the concrete.

“We are now in the process of lowering the cottage down onto the concrete slab that we poured earlier. Once that’s done, we will put the building back to its original shape and size and replace any rotten wood with new. New rafters will be installed along with new shingles and fascia boards. It will be on the historical museum grounds for everyone to see,” teacher Larry Mengerink commented.

A continuing project for the class has been the Vantage Recycling effort. The Building and Grounds students are the heart and soul of this project. Each week, students pick up recycling from classrooms and labs and get it to the proper containers. According to the Van Wert Solid Waste District, Vantage recycling has tripled since last year. This September, 1,910 pounds of recycling was collected compared to only 440 pounds in September 2012.

Now that the construction and expansion project is complete, Building & Grounds students are also learning new landscaping skills. They mow, trim, and edge the entire Vantage property and students are eager to put the zero turn mowers to work in the spring. They have even started a compost area.

This winter, the students will be building a portable wheelchair ramp for an individual with no access to their house without a ramp, while they continue to work with the Vantage maintenance crew to keep the inside of the new building clean and functional.


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