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Construction students make Community Garden accessible to handicapped

December 03, 2010 12:00AM

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Senior construction management majors Alex Robbins, Bryan McMurty, and Clint Hodges put the new Community Garden sign in place.

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"
Especially in this holiday season of giving, when we're so aware of the needs of the community, the idea that these students are helping us feed people in need is a great thing. "
~ Rev. Kevin Arensman, pastor of First Christian Church
up of Pittsburg State students are giving back to the community this holiday season by using what they've learned in the classroom to help those in need.

Alex Robbins, Clint Hodges, and Bryan McMurty, seniors in the Department of Construction Management and Construction Engineering Technologies (CMCET) are spending the last few weeks before finals making big improvements to the Community Garden, a green space behind the First Christian Church on Centennial.

Although their work - building and installing a new sign at the garden's entrance, as well as designing and building new raised flower beds that will be accessible to the handicapped - is technically for a class project, the students say they realize how meaningful the first handicapped-accessible garden will be to the community.

"It does feel like we're doing something good for people," said McMurty as he prepared the concrete that would anchor the legs of the sign into the ground. "It's like we're able to leave something behind for everyone that will be here a long time."

The three students will graduate this month and leave Pittsburg to take construction management positions with companies outside the area. Students in the program do learn construction techniques, but focus primarily on management aspects such as coordinating, estimating, and cost projection. Averaging a handful of community projects each year, CMCET Chairman Jim Otter noted that potential 15 student projects - including work at an area senior citizens center and a local Board of Education office - could start up next spring.

"Working on this has advanced me in a lot of different aspects of construction," said Robbins, who planned the project for more than two months. (The students provided free time and labor, and the church picked up the cost of materials.) "This is giving me a boost in experience."

Rev. Kevin Arensman, pastor of First Christian Church, said approximately 6,000 pounds of produce was grown at the Community Garden last year, food that was distributed by the Wesley House.

"Especially in this holiday season of giving, when we're so aware of the needs of the community, the idea that these students are helping us feed people in need is a great thing," Arensman said. "They've been great just jumping in, seeing the need and meeting that need. We really appreciate the students and the program at Pitt State."

---Pitt State---

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