It all began in September 2018 at a Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting with an update from the Marlinton Elementary School Local School Improvement Council. Then LSIC president JL Clifton addressed the board with concerns about the safety of students getting on and off the buses at the school.
Clifton told the board the LSIC wanted to pursue construction of a bus shelter. The board gave its blessing and Clifton set out to obtain materials and contacted Pocahontas County High School carpentry teacher Duane Gibson to see if his students could build the shelter.
Clifton was able to get all the building materials from Lowe’s through its Lowe’s Heroes Program. Appalachian Aggregate supplied the gravel, Burns Motor Freight hauled the crusher run and Mitchell Chevrolet donated use of its skid steer and excavator to prepare the construction site.
By August 2019, everything was set and in motion. Gibson’s carpentry students designed the shelter and went to work on the structure in the fall.
“[Clifton] just said, ‘we want a ten by sixteen’ and we designed it with the previous afternoon class,” Gibson said. “We estimated the materials and sent the list to JL. It took us twenty-nine days. That’s counting going down for the pre-bid, looking at the site, meeting JL down there to see what he wanted. One day we moved rocks. One day was just laying out where the post holes needed to be. Then you had to dig the holes and pour the concrete. It was a step-by-step process.”
The six-person crew, which had a seventh for the first semester, worked well together and created a solid bus shelter with three benches, a nice roof and open air sides.
“They didn’t want walls because of graffiti,” Gibson explained. “It’s also built so in case we get floodwater, the water can come up and go down, and not disturb anything. It’s built to last, I think. I’ve had a lot of good comments on it from people in the public.”
Not one to sit idle, Gibson said the class isn’t taking any breaks after this project and is already working on several others, as well as preparing for the SkillsUSA competition in April.
“There are always things in the works,” he said. “Right now, I’ve got a ten by twenty building my Carpentry II class is building for the Parks and Rec office. They’re going to put it down at Stillwell.
“I’ve got a team, an individual carpenter and an individual mason this year.”