A cooperative project between a Platte County High School program and students of the Northland Career Center (NCC) led to an impressive professional project completed last week.
At the request of Platte Woods mayor John Smedley, students designed and constructed a walking bridge for the small Platte County city’s Imeson Park Walking Trail. Platte County’s Project Lead the Way engineering program (PLTW), approved last year to offer the chance to learn from activity-, project- and problem-based curriculum, came up with the design, and NCC welding and construction students helped finish the 12-foot-long by 6-foot-wide bridge.
More than 300 man-hours were devoted to the project, which started in the winter and finished up with the bridge being delivered to Platte Woods last week. Students who contributed to the project include Matthew Harding, Thomas Nielsen, Tanner Martin, Dustin Pritchard, Zachary Kalcic, Bailey Churchill, Brennen Hicks, Carson Pfaff, Joey Swift, Brett Turner, Donovan Douglas, Noah Stallo and Aaron Rogers.
Some even worked on the project outside of school hours, and graduating seniors came back to see the project to completion after the school year ended.
“At times I had to tell students go home, as they just wanted to keep working,” said Curt Claycomb, an NCC instructor. “As we seek to bring project-based learning to NCC, there could not have been a better way for students to learn.”
PLTW students met with Platte Woods staff to determine customer needs and used feedback to create the final design. The welding students put together a 3,500-pound frame of weathering steel, and construction students put down the decking and wooden railing.
While being honored at the Platte County R-3’s board of education meeting last week, students noted that they had to come up with a rustic look with a modern finish.
“They put a lot of emphasis on the sound that’s made while crossing a wooden bridge,” said Douglas, one of the students who helped on the project, “so we had to incorporate that into the design.”
Students gained valuable experience working with the customer, seeking materials that fit within a budget, tracking the process and hours worked, using academic skills and technical expertise, and presenting work to the customer. The bridge left the NCC on a tow truck prior to the board of education meeting and will be installed on the trail on the west side of Interstate 29 at a date to be determined.
“It wasn’t part of the plan (for these students to do this project),” Platte County High School principal Dr. Chad Sayre said, “but this opportunity arose and was one of the learning moments (for the PLTW students).”