NLC students making progress on Chetywnd airport terminal

CHETWYND ? Residential carpentry students from Northern Lights College are making solid progress in the construction of a new terminal building at the Chetwynd Airport.

The learners, under the direction of instructor Mark Heartt, put the walls for the terminal building into place on Nov. 2. At the same time, plumbing students from the College were also on site completing groundwork.

?This has been a fantastic project for my learners. They get a touch of commercial construction experience, plus residential,? Heartt said. ?And it?s been great working with the District of Chetwynd. For me, it?s just great to have a project ready to go for us, and it has been laid out very well.?

The construction crew consists of 11 students, two of whom are from Chetwynd. All the concrete work has been completed, Heartt said, reducing what had been concerns that inclement weather might delay the project.

?This is a nice crew. More than 11 students can get tough to manage. But this is a good site for that many students because it?s fairly large. We?re able to spread them out, and everyone is able to participate in the project,? Heartt said.

While the students get hands-on experience in carpentry, the District also has provided a classroom on site, allowing the students to do their in-class work in Chetwynd.

Part of the theory portion is learning and following the Building Code.

?That?s part of the course is the Code,? Heartt said, explaining that an engineer has inspected the walls and concrete. ?I train my students to view the Code as a minimum requirement, and we always try to go better than that.?

For the students involved in the project, this is a great opportunity.

Shane Fischer, a 17-year-old Dual Credit student from South Peace Secondary School, believes his experience here will give him an advantage when he starts looking for work after graduation.

?I?ve always wanted to get a jump on my career, so by doing this? I can get into the field more,? Fischer said. ?Working on a building gives us more of an idea of what we?re doing. If we just read it, we don?t necessarily know what we?re doing. But if we do it, we understand it more.?

Dual Credit programs allow high school students in grades 11 and 12 to enroll in one of a number of trades or apprenticeship programs at the College. The students can earn College credits, while still in high school, which will count towards their College diploma.

The airport terminal project is a cooperative effort between the District and the College. An agreement was reached in May between Chetwynd council and the College, and work began in September. The terminal is expected to be completed and in use by May 2008.

This is the first project of this type that the College has completed, but not the first time the College has worked with the District of Chetwynd. Residential carpentry students have completed two residential home building projects in Chetwynd, on lots donated by the District.

In order to complete the airport project, the College has put its residential carpentry project in Dawson Creek on hold for this year.

As well, the College?s Mobile Welding program is scheduled to Chetwynd in September 2008. The five-month program will help learners in Chetwynd start a career in the Welding trade.