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Bus project drives Forbes Road students

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Thursday, Sept. 27, 2007

Helping to build 10 computer cabinets into a bus had its interesting moments, but student Jake Dezort still prefers working on houses.

"I don't like the little knickknack, touchy, take-forever things," he said.

Dezort, 18, of Oakmont, is attending Forbes Road Career and Technology Center to become a framer, a carpenter who knocks together the wooden skeleton of a building.

He's one of dozens of students from 10 different disciplines who are working together to convert a school bus donated by W.L. Roenigk Bus Co. of Sarver into a mobile recruiting center whose computers will give potential students a rundown on Forbes Road's programs. Lowe's Home Improvement gave the school a $10,000 grant to help pay for the project.

Ten school districts send students to the center. The bus will travel to those districts so the students can see what types of courses the center offers.

Kenny Honsperger, 18, of Oakmont, said doing these kinds of hands-on projects already has helped him get part-time work. Through the school's apprenticeship program, he does remodeling work two days a week for a local realty company.

"It's what I enjoy. I'm not the office type," he said.

Each year, the center's building construction class builds a home. The home is built into sections at the school, then moved to a foundation for final assembly.

Tony Kresicki, the building construction technology instructor, said the bus is a different kind of project but fits easily into the curriculum. In particular, the bus is giving students some extra experience in cabinetry and other detail carpentry.

"It takes a special kind of an individual to do this kind of finish work," he said. "It kind of drives home that discipline."

DeeDee Ciccarelli, the center's spokeswoman, said the electrical technology class wired the bus for the computer systems, while the heating and ventilation students will install a rooftop air-conditioning unit.

Currently, the bus is white with lettering on the side to identify it. The paint had hardly dried, however, before the center's staff and students knew they had made a mistake.

"It looks like a prison bus," Ciccarelli said with a laugh.

The center's art students are working on a design that will make the bus more welcoming to potential students, she said.

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