September 11, 2015 11:15AM
On the architect’s drawing for the new Kansas Center for Career and Technical Education (KCCTE) offices inside the Kansas Technology Center, there were areas labeled “furniture by others.”
That gave Doug Hague an idea.
“I thought it could be a nice challenge for our students to see if they’d be willing to design and build the furniture needed for the office,” said Hague, assistant professor in Pittsburg State’s Wood Technology Department.
Last spring, Hague approached senior Mark Welle, from Milford, Iowa, and junior Sam Galliart, from Hutchinson, Kan., as he knew both were planning to stay in Pittsburg over the summer. Without hesitation, they accepted the challenge.
“Where else could we get this type of experience,” Welle said. “We were going to get to go through every phase of the project from design to install. That’s incredibly valuable experience that would benefit us for years to come.”
Save for a couple of weeks off for various reasons, Galliart and Welle worked all summer to create the new furniture that is now inside the KCCTE offices. That includes a conference table, reception desks, bookshelves and multiple cabinets. Often putting in more than 60 hours per week, the two students oversaw every phase of the process.
“Our instructors told us a couple of things to think about and watch for, but for the most part, it was just us,” Galliart said. “That’s what made it such a fun and exciting challenge. We were in charge of everything, and we wanted to blow people away with the final product.”
Greg Belcher, founding director of the KCCTE, said the students did just that.
“It’s simply gorgeous,” Belcher said. “These two young men did an amazing job, just amazing. We’ve already had so many comments from people stopping by just to look at it. I couldn’t be more impressed with their work.”
Both students said they take great pride in knowing that furniture they designed and built at Pitt State will be used at the university far into the future.
“It’s really hard to describe how good that feels,” Welle said. “It’s just a great feeling to know that we put our heart and soul into this and people seem to love it.”
Galliart said the entire wood technology department deserves credit for the quality of work.
“We could not have done this without the education we’ve received here at Pitt,” Galliart said. “Our instructors are amazing, and they’ve taught us how to do projects like this. Plus, we’re fortunate to have the state-of-the-art equipment that we need right here in our university lab.”
Welle said he doesn’t believe this type of project could have been completed at another university.
“Our wood tech program here is one and only,” he said. “I can’t imagine any other school having the instructors, equipment and industry partners that we have here. This is the best, and that’s why we’re able to do stuff like this.”