Students at work

Function and design come together in new wood tech lab

| Jay Benedict reporter |

It’s a classroom two years in the making, built by students, for students, with funds procured by alumni, and there’s nothing quite like it at Pittsburg State.
The Wood Technology Design and Engineering Lab ribbon cutting stayed true to its roots by using a saw to cut a wood ribbon. The ceremony was held Wednesday, Feb. 26, at the Kansas Technology Center.
The lab was designed by Chris Bell and Scott Vasey in 2012 while they were both graduate students at PSU. Currently, both work for Advanced Fixtures Incorporated (AFI) in Texas. They showed the plans to AFI and the company donated $30,000 to fund the project.

Ribbon Cutting

Ribbon Cutting

“We’ve hired five PSU graduates in the last three years and have been very pleased,” said Tony Ewing, AFI owner and president. “There’s no other program like this in the country and we wanted to give back and continue this great relationship.”
The renovation of the old computer lab began in November 2013. The Student Society of Architectural Woodworking (SAW) members played a key role in completing the project. Eric Thomas, SAW president, estimated that members, other students and instructors put in over 1,000 hours of work altogether.
“It’s taken two years from conception to completion,” Thomas said. “There were plenty of late nights and long hours. Each of our officers probably put 100 hours in.”
Doug Hague, assistant professor of wood technology, says the project was beneficial for the university and the students.
“The new lab isn’t perfect, but that’s because it’s been built by students who not only are only leaving their mark here, but learning while they do it,” Hague said.
SAW event coordinator Derek Feess, SAW event coordinator, says thinking about the end result was very important.
“It took a lot of time, and some if it was frustrating and difficult,” Feess said. “Thinking about the footprint this will leave on PSU and the program is was got us through a lot of those times.”
Vasay and Bell made the trip back to Pitt for the ribbon cutting to see their vision come to fruition. Vasay says after they told AFI about the project and the campus recruiter and Geoff Athey, AFI vice president, saw the state of it, the company agreed to make the donation.
“It’s amazing and has surpassed all my expectations,” Vasay said. “When you walk in, there’s definitely a wow factor.”

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