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CACTC team up with city to make improvements at community center

| Sunday, March 31, 2013, 5:39 p.m.
Rachel Basinger | for the Daily Courier
Community Center Manager Gary Barker looks on as some carpentry students at the Connellsville Area Career and Technology Center work to install a drop ceiling in one of the rooms in the Connellsville Community Center.
Rachel Basinger | for the Daily Courier
Student Derek Hoover works at installing a drop ceiling at the Connellsville Community Center.

Carpentry students at the Connellsville Area Career and Technology Center are spending some time at the Connellsville Area Community Center to help with renovations to several rooms there.

Under the instruction of teacher Jerry Matthews, the students are putting in a drop ceiling in two rooms on the first floor that will be utilized by the Hobo Railroad group who will be moving down from the third floor.

Matthews said his students try to do one or two projects a year for the community, partnering most recently with the bike trail.

“Projects like this get the students out for live work experience,” he said. “We can't duplicate what we're doing here now in the classroom. This gives them experience with something that is a very common project in the field.”

Student Trent Mowry said they enjoy coming out and doing jobs for the community.

“It's more hands on than in the classroom and it's nice to give back this way,” he said.

The students are installing a suspended ceiling to bring the height down from 13 feet to a little over 8 feet.

Matthews said the project helps with energy conservation. Instead of all of the heat in the room rising to the ceiling where it's not doing much good, the lower ceiling will keep the heat down in the room better as well as make the room a lot easier to light up.

The group is also working with students from both the electrical and HVAC departments at the career center to complete the project.

After that, community center manager Gary Barker said there are a few other projects throughout the building that the group may work on, depending on the time frame it takes to complete the current project.

Shelving and peg board need to be installed in the first-floor thrift shop and a new floor needs to be installed in another first floor room so that it's ready to be rented out. Some other work in the gymnasium and the Porter Theater might even be on the list.

Barker said the center purchases the materials that are needed for all of the projects, but the use of the students really helps in the labor costs.

Connellsville City Councilman Gregory Ritch said the city likes to focus on how to get the youth involved in the community.

“This is a perfect example,” he said. “I'm really proud of these boys. They're doing a great job.”

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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