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JVS students assisting with project at Hills Elementary

RENOVATION EFFORTS — Cloa James and Josh Riley, juniors in the auto collision program at Jefferson County Joint Vocational School as well as Indian Creek High School, sand shelving removed from Wintersville Elementary School which will be refurbished and placed at Hills Elementary as part of its $10 million renovation project. Indian Creek Local School District officials said the project will keep the upgrade within budget and promote communities working together. (Contributed photo)

MINGO JUNCTION — Students at Jefferson County Joint Vocational School have a hand in one of the upgrades at Hills Elementary by lending their talents to an ongoing shelving project.

About 33 students in the JVS’s auto collision, welding and carpentry classes will use their skills to restore shelves and construct a waterwheel for the elementary school as part of its $10 million improvement project. Hills is currently in the midst of renovations which will add new electrical wiring, heating and cooling units, roofing, remodeled classrooms and a more secure entrance, among other updates. Indian Creek Assistant Superintendent John Belt said the JVS connection was made through an idea by Todd Rainsberg, senior project manager with the Canton-based Sol-Harris/Day architectural firm, and that it not only involves local students but also helps keep the upgrades within budget.

“We’re really excited to work in collaboration with the JVS on the Hills renovation,” Belt said. “We believe it expands the overall sense of community for our area, and we plan on putting a plaque in the Hills building recognizing the JVS students who contributed to this project.”

Rainsberg said crews moved all of the metal shelving from Wintersville Elementary School’s media center since students will attend Cross Creek Elementary upon its completion on Bantam Ridge Road and the present building will be razed. About 48 shelves were taken from WES and transported to the vocational school in Bloomingdale, and he said it was a win-win for everyone involved.

“The JVS students will refurbish the shelves by sanding and repainting them in the auto collision class, and if any are damaged they will be repaired by the welding students. From day one, the district wanted to try to include as many students as they could and we asked how we could get them involved, then thought of the JVS. We reached out to (Principal) Dan Hartman a year ago, but with COVID we were not sure if we could pull it off. He talked to the staff and penciled us in for the year,” he explained. “We were trying to find ways to keep Hills’ budget intact and obviously with a new elementary building being built the shelving at WES could be used. They will look brand new when they are done. We came up with the concept over a year ago during the design phase and wanted to reach out early enough so we could get it on their schedule.”

Carpentry students will also shine by creating a wooden waterwheel to incorporate into the design. Rainsberg said both projects should hopefully be finished by the end of the school year with installation set for this summer.

“We’re just happy the JVS could team up with us and hope the kids are excited about seeing this happen, plus the community also sees what these kids can do,” he noted.

Hartman said the JVS was glad to be part of the process because it gives their students a chance to show off skills they have learned in their program labs.

“The students in auto collision are very excited and working hard to complete the task and students in carpentry are also excited but have yet to begin the project,” he said.

Hartman added that work should proceed as planned, barring further closures from the pandemic. The JVS has assisted many community organizations and schools in the past and he said this was another great experience for the students.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to be able to help Indian Creek with this project,” he commented. “We have many students from that district and the collaboration is great for them.”

Indian Creek High School juniors Vivian Dubravski, Cloa James and Josh Riley, all of whom participate in the auto collision program, find it exciting to do something for their home district.

“I’m glad to put my volunteer work into projects for different places like Indian Creek,” said Dubravski. “It gets my name out there and makes me feel good to do something for other communities and other people. I’m proud of myself.”

“It feels good that I’m helping out because [Indian Creek’s] helped me get my education,” added James.

“I think it’s really neat that we get a chance to fix this up and use them for the school,” said Riley. “Even though we don’t go to the school, it will be nice. It’s another project we get to practice painting on.”

Auto collision program instructor Russ Achhammer said it will give the students experience and assist the community.

“It’s nice that they are able to help the school and the community,” Achhammer said.

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