We’ve all heard of a win-win situation, but a project underway at Penn Yan Academy right now is a win-win-win-win-win situation for the community.
By this summer, the Keuka Outlet Trail will have 19 new customized benches for people to sit and enjoy a break during their hike along the seven-mile trail.
Because of the combined effort of Penn Yan Rotary, Rotary District 7120, Penn Yan Academy Class of 2016, agricultural and technical students at Penn Yan Academy, Penn Yan School maintenance staff, the Village of Penn Yan, Hoover Ironworks, and the Friends of the Outlet, the 19 benches have been built and are now being powder coated.
Within a couple of weeks, they will be returned to Penn Yan Academy so the final coat of paint can be applied and seats and backs installed before they are placed on concrete pads at various locations along the trail.
The project began last year when Penn Yan Rotary Club members Carol Worth and Don Oakleaf sought funds from Rotary District 7120 to purchase five benches for the trail. Then, Oakleaf started discussions with Penn Yan Academy agriculture and technical education teacher John Kriese about the students building the benches. The order grew when the PYA Class of 2016 donated $3,000 toward the project.
Along the way, Peg Thompson, president of the Friends of the Outlet, secured a grant to pay for another three benches. In no time, the plan which began with a goal of five benches funded by Rotary, expanded to 11, and last week, when the final construction was underway at PYA, the shops behind Kriese’s classrooms were overflowing with 6-ft. benches and students learning metal fabrication.
The project has provided PYA students an opportunity to practice welding techniques, use an industrial saw purchased by FFA, and the plasma laser cutter used to customize the back rest of each bench. Some of the welding techniques needed were a bit advanced for the high schoolers, so Kriese called in Floyd Hoover, who demonstrated some advanced techniques. Hoover also completed some of the custom bending for the bench arm rests.
Using the plasma cutter, the vocational and agriculture mechanics students cut out the messages crediting the different organizations that participated in the project.
Last Wednesday evening, members of the Friends of the Outlet Board of Directors delivered pizza and wings for the students who stayed after school for an evening session in the shop, when they finished welding the benches. Penn Yan School maintenance staff transported the benches to the facility where they are being powder coated during break.
The benches will be installed along the village portion of the trail by village crews, and along the Friends of the Outlet portion of the trail by a volunteer crew led by Friends Board member Mickey Orr.