Rob Weaver has been a senior carpentry instructor at Penta Career Center for 16 years.
Every year Penta students take on a major project in order to gain experience for careers as electricians, masons and carpenters, to name a few.
“We usually build a house every year,” Weaver said, “and this year the house (project) fell through at the last minute. We were left, for the first time in 40-some years, without a house to build.”
Marquise Pitts and T.J. Downs(standing), of Penta Construction and
Remodeling Class, apply an adhesive to the structure at Eastwood's
new soccer complex being construted behind the middle school.
(Press photo by Ken Grosjean)
Enter Penta Superintendent Ron Matter, who approached Eastwood Schools Superintendent Brent Welker about a possible project for the Penta students to undertake in the Eastwood district.
“Our superintendent talked with Brent Welker, who had a house built by Penta,” Weaver said. “We built (football coach) Jerry Rutherford’s house, too.”
When Eastwood’s new soccer building, a 45x35-foot structure that will house concessions, restrooms, a storage area and a press box, is completed, Penta students will have done most of the work.
“We started in early November and (construction) will run through the end of the school year,” Weaver said. “We’d like to be totally completed by then. I never feel on schedule, but we’re moving well. We’re doing OK. This next stretch in January will tell a lot. We found a product to put on the roof sheathing, so we don’t have to shingle it until April.”
Eastwood Athletic Director Chris Fahim said he hopes to have the building open to the school district by the start of soccer season next fall.
“So far, so good,” he said. “They’ve laid the foundation and they’re starting to get the structure up. The kids have done a great job working through the weather and it’s shaping up nicely. It’s win-win for us. We’re getting this new facility and the Penta students are getting the experience out of it. They weren’t doing a house this year, so they were looking into doing some construction. We talked with them quite a few times and came up with blueprints, and now we have a structure going up.”
Eastwood will also have two new buildings behind the baseball and softball backstops. They are 10x10, one-story structures that should be ready by the start of the spring sports season, according to Fahim.
“They will house a small concession stand and a tiny press box,” he said. “There was nothing there before that. We would get trailers and put them back there. Now we have a permanent structure and our baseball and softball programs can take ownership.”
Phil Donaldson, director of operations for the Eastwood School District, said the soccer facility is mostly being paid for from private donations. He said the donors have chosen to remain anonymous.
“It’s not costing a lot (for taxpayers),” he said. “We’re still taking in some donations, so I don’t know what it’s going to cost the school. It’s being built by Penta, so there’s no labor (costs) involved. Second-year carpentry kids are building this. It’s slow going because they’re coming from Penta every day.
There are morning and afternoon classes, so it’s a slow process. They don’t have eight-hour (work) days.”
Donaldson said the plumbing will be done by Bob’s Plumbing, of Luckey, Ohio.
Weaver said 100 students, ages 16-18, have been working on the soccer facility. He said his class consists of about 20 students, and all of the students are working in “two-hour chunks.”
“The commute from Penta is about 17 miles,” Weaver said. “We’re doing basically four hours a day. Right now we probably have 40 kids a day. The remodelers built a couple structures at the ball field and are just about wrapped up.”
He added that Penta’s construction courses generally get about 10 students a year from the Eastwood school district.
“Construction courses tend to get solid students from Eastwood,” he said. “I don’t have any this year, but that’s rare. Usually I have two or three and they’re generally all really solid. Those kids just grow up with a good work ethic. We’re always looking for future projects. We have next year’s project, but we’re looking to line things up two years out if possible.”
Superintendent Brent Welker said over Christmas break, the district approved a $3,000 donation from Pemberville residents Dave and Vicki Bruning for the soccer building.