July 10, 2010
Since November 2009, several members of the Colorado Contractors Association, or CCA, student chapter have been involved in a volunteer project dubbed the "OT Shed Project." The Construction Management students teamed up with at-risk students from Centennial High School to build a shed for the CSU Occupational Therapy Garden.
The goal of the project involved teaching the Centennial students the basics of the construction process and some technical skills and allowing them to attain a sense of self-satisfaction and pride in their completed work.
At the start of the project, CCA members worked with three Centennial students to design the shed in Google SketchUp, which involved teaching them how to use the program, basic construction concepts, learn material use and how to apply problem solving skills.
In January, construction began with the students from the Centennial High School shop class. CCA members took on separate phases of the project’s construction and provided the instructions for completion of each phase to the one to three Centennial students assisting them.
Joe Houtz, CCA student chapter president, said that the
project allowed him to apply his construction management and business skills during the design, planning, and purchasing processes.
“But the most rewarding part,” he said, “is being able to teach these high school students and see their interest grow. These students have been very interested and involved in this project and some have expressed their goals to pursue a career in engineering.”
Houtz also emphasized the importance of volunteer work as an integral part of education.
“Volunteering is one part of education that not only helps the surrounding community, but also teaches students the lessons of self sacrifice and how to use their talents and education to help others.
"Projects such as this shed exhibit the lessons that our construction management students learn outside of the classroom and CCA looks forward to seeing these kinds of achievements in the future.”
The shed was placed in the Occupational Therapy Garden on May 10. Located south of the Occupational Therapy building (corner of Oval Drive and Old Main Drive) on campus, the Occupational Therapy Garden serves as an outdoor teaching and learning laboratory for Colorado State's award-winning Department of Occupational Therapy.
The garden features paths surfaced with different materials, garden beds of varying heights, and work areas accessible to users with differing abilities.
Original story published in the Department of Construction Management CM Highlights newsletter, April 2010.