Blackwell’s largest student built structure on campus nearing completion
Blackwell Job Corp students spent much of the summer working on one of the largest building projects in the center’s history. A 40-foot wide gazebo sits nearly completed on the grounds of the center, near the student dormitories. It’s a legacy that will be shared by classmates into the future.
Most of the work was completed in early October. However, rails and a stamped cement floor will be added in the spring of 2016.
“It’s the largest project undertaken by Blackwell Job Corps Center in the last 14 years,” said career technical skills instructor Eric Martinson. “It’s been going very smooth, the students seem to enjoy seeing a project from start to finish and they get to enjoy it.”
Carpentry students assembled the building. The welding class fabricated brackets. Construction craft laborers demolished the old blacktop, hung scaffolding and poured and stamped the concrete, he said.
Future students and center staff will use the gazebo for picnics, games and as a place to “hang out,” he said. Although the structure will not include walls or heating, it will be available for year-round use.
When finished, the eight-sided gazebo will measure 40 feet across and18 feet tall.
However, like many projects, there is more than construction taking place.
“Even the math teacher has been coming out here and using this (project) as a teaching tool,” Martinson said. “Math and geometry teachers discuss the calculations behind the work.”
After discussing the concept in the classroom, teachers and students go out to the job site to see how the classroom concepts fit into the work. Other classroom skills that become real on the job site include power tool use and safety.
“That is what Job Corps is all about; it makes everything come about full-circle,” according to Martinson. “The education, the trades and the applied academics–this is a perfect example of how it’s used to the best.”
Career Technical Skills Training funds paid for the materials and other expenses, Martinson said. Building materials and other services were purchased from Laona-area merchants.
Student Kidale Smith said the toughest task on the job so far was lugging and placing the 19-foot long, 800-pound upright wood beams used to support the structure. It took six students to heave them into palace.
“This is definitely teaching me a lot,” Smith added.
“I am going to look at it and say my God, we built this,” said carpentry student Joseph Zoboroski. “My carpentry team built this for the center. It’s unbelievable how much work we put into this, how much time and effort. I am proud.”
The Blackwell Job Corps, located in the town of Blackwell, Wisconsin, is associated with the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The center serves about 160 students living and training on its residential campus. Nationally, the Forest Service manages 28 Job Corps centers in 18 states.
Blackwell offers training in office automation, carpentry, construction crafts, health occupations, masonry and welding. Additionally, students can earn their high school diplomas either through a partnership with a local high school, online or through General Educational Development (GED) or High School Equivalency testing. To learn more about opportunities at the Blackwell Job Corps Center please visit http://blackwell.jobcorps.gov/home.aspx.