A particular image is conjured in the Lancaster area when you mention “barn raising”. Students from the Lancaster County Career & Technology Center’s Mount Joy campus are doing their best to challenge that image.
About 15 students in the Introduction to Construction Careers class swarm over the construction site for a storage pole barn adjacent soccer field in Cove Outlook Park on Old Market Street. Blue safety helmets bob this way and that as the students bend to their tasks. All of this activity is overseen by their instructor, Aaron Adams.
“The students in this class are here to learn the basic skills of a variety of construction careers. So a project like this one with a variety of necessary skills is absolutely perfect for them,” Adams said. He explained that the project was a collaboration with Donegal Youth Soccer to build a large storage shed for the equipment. The location of the site was ideal for the Construction program students at Mount Joy campus across the street. Adams said that the project was meant to be done in the spring, but the pandemic shutdown hit before construction could begin. He said that the Lancaster County CTC occasionally works with local groups to provide labor for construction and improvement projects.
“The students get on-site work experience and we are able to save some local organizations some expenses,” Adams said.
Instructor Adams resumes explaining to the group how to install structural timbers. Small knots of students, properly masked, peel off to make their measurements, saw to length, and screw the struts in place.
Gage Watt, another LCCTC junior from Manheim Central, snapped a straight chalk line to mark positions for the coming cut lumber. He said that he was hoping to become a local construction worker after high school.
“I came to the CTC for the hands-on learning and here we are,” Watt said, holding up a construction tape measure.
“Working out here is great!” exclaimed CTC student Javan Vargas, a junior from Manheim Central School District. “We’ve been in school for two weeks and we are already out here building a 24-foot barn.”
Vargas kneeled on a piece of lumber in the parking lot adjacent to the construction site and measured out a length while his classmates offered opinions and advice. Vargas said that he had worked on small construction projects before coming to the LCCTC but he had never worked on something this large before. He said that his favorite part of the project so far was busting through the parking lot blacktop and pouring the concrete for the corner posts of the barn.
“It’s really cool to know that you’re building something that is going to be here for a long time. Something that a lot of people will use over the years,” Vargas said.
Brian Engle, the Fields Coordinator from Donegal Youth Soccer explained that the new shed will house all the materials that the group uses during meets – from jerseys, to line equipment, to the goals.
“The LCCTC had built a small shed for us on the same location. Over the years, we outgrew that shed and then some,” Engle said. “I really look forward to having a large, secure place to store our material and we really appreciate all of the work from the CTC students,” he said.