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Masonry students at work in community

December 19, 2018

It has been a busy fall term for the masonry class at Somerset County Technology Center. The students, under the supervision of Mark Lyons, have been working on community projects around the Somerset area.

A board member of the Somerset VFW contacted Lyons, wondering if the class would be interested in helping with some needed repairs on their building, according to a press release from the center.

The class took on the project and started work in mid-September. The students tore down a section of a block wall that was loose and then rebuilt the wall. Materials were donated by a local company. The students also completed repointing on some brickwork under the porch. The project took three to four days to complete.

In early October the class shifted their focus to a 150-year-old stone wall at Christ Casebeer Lutheran Church. The students were tasked with removing loose stones and loose mortar joints, replacing the stones and tucking fresh mortar into the joints.

“This was a good learning experience for the class. There is no way to recreate a wall like that in the lab at SCTC. The students got to see how a Civil War-era wall was designed and built. The wall has a unique cap on top that is indicative of walls from that era,” Lyons said.

At the end of October the students worked on their final community project: constructing a concrete block dugout at Jacob Field in Somerset. The students rebuilt a dugout that was damaged and torn down. The students laid approximately 350 8-inch blocks for the project. The block cells were filled with grout and reinforcing bars were inserted into the cells for strength. The class then helped a local masonry contractor pour a new concrete floor in the dugout.

Lyons said these projects are good for his class because the students get to help the communities in which they live and those experiences usually involve situations that are hard to recreate in a lab or classroom setting. The students and Lyons enjoy the off-school projects because they involve structures that will be standing for a long time.

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