2017-05-03 / Front Page

'Come, sit a spell'

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Students craft benches for Sanford’s Gateway Park
Senior Staff Writer

SANFORD — Summer is on its way, and with it, warm, sunny days — perfect days to stop by Gateway Park to enjoy the sunshine and watch as the Mousam River cascades over the waterfall.

This summer, folks who stop by will have benches to sit on while they read a book, lick an ice cream cone, or chat with a friend, thanks to the creativity and skill of students at Sanford Regional Technical Center.

Gateway Park is relatively new, built with funds from a federal grant. Extras, like benches and other features, are being built over time. 

Students at SRTC have been engaged in a number of projects at the park — the latest including fabricating benches. Another will be to use granite foundation blocks from the old Emerson School, demolished a week ago, for the park’s amphitheater, said SRTC’s Joe Doiron, who works with students on various community projects.

In constructing the benches, first came the task of deciding which designs would work. Welding instructor Adam Hartford said seniors Matt Landry of Massabesic High School in Waterboro and James Lawrence of Traip Academy in Kittery looked over a packet of designs and chose four they thought students could fabricate. They brought the designs to the Gateway Park Committee, which settled on one they liked best, but wanted to see a half-scale model first.

That half-scale model passed muster — and it too, will be installed in the park, along with five full-size benches.  

The plan is for the benches to be completed by the end of this school year in June.

“It was fun," said Landry. “I like doing something that’s going to sit in the city for a while.”

“It's leaving a mark on Sanford,” said Lawrence.

Doiron said he’ll be speaking at service clubs and other organizations and will bring with him the half-scale model as he seeks financial sponsors for the benches, to cover the school’s expenses. He pointed out that similar benches if purchased retail would cost the city about $1,500 each.

Hartford, the welding instructor, said he is glad to have students do the work. Hartford, a graduate of the program in 2004 and who is marking his first year teaching, said he’d like to have more  “live” work projects back in the program, giving students a variety of experiences. He pointed out that welding can be expensive, and the cash earned when folks contract with the program for work helps offset costs.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or twells@journaltribune.com.

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