TEXARKANA, Texas -- Texarkana College's construction technology students are putting their skills to use by providing the college with more student congregation spots on campus this fall.
TC Construction students recently built six new picnic tables that are spread out around the school's campus for students to hang out or study on.
Program Coordinator Michael Lee said the process started about six months ago, as TC has been making an effort to provide more places for students to congregate on campus.
Shortly after, Lee's program received a donation of lumber from West Fraser Lumber Mill in New Boston, Texas, which they ended up using for this picnic project.
"From there, I set forth with some of my second- and third-semester students and allowed them to draw up plans for the picnic tables and give us an estimate of materials needed," Lee said. "We were able to produce them, get them stained and finished up after that."
Once the materials arrived, the process of building the tables only took about two weeks, Lee said. Around 10 students worked on the project.
"My more advanced students were kind of foremen on this job, overseeing the work and letting the new guys come and get some experience," Lee said. "Being able to produce a product they could see at the end was nice."
Because of the donation from West Fraser, Lee said it ended up being a very low-cost project that provided his students with invaluable experience and the college with more student hangout spots.
"Our goal is to create a well-rounded, competency-based program where we can equip our students with the basic carpentry skills they need," he said. "We try to give them projects that have not only a skill base for them to learn along the way, but also a product to be able to see when they're done with it."
Lee said through the program, his students have also built dog houses for the local animal shelter, sheds for Habitat for Humanity and even a small house for CASA Texarkana.
"Construction is a skill, just like anything else. You don't get better at basketball by not going to the gym and shooting hoops. So if you're going to get better construction, you've got to be using the tools and using the equipment," he said.
Lee said he hopes his students take pride in the job they did with the picnic tables.
"They can be proud to walk around the campus, see these tables and say 'Yeah, I helped build that right there.' Hopefully, they'll be here for years to come, and they can come back and tell some of their friends about it," he said.
TC's Construction program is a one-year program offering advanced carpentry instruction. To learn more, visit texarkanacollege.edu/programs/construction-technology.