A Lighthouse in the Mountains
After several long discussions with Bill and Nycoma covering a wide range of issues, from wind shear load to cathodic protection, it quickly became apparent that it was time to go back to school before we tried to build what would become the equivalent of a ten story building. It also soon became all too clear that the size and scale of our undertaking dwarfed our meager budget. If this project had any chance of getting off of the ground at all, we were going to need some help in more ways than one.
Fortunately the very idea of an actual Lighthouse in in our community resonated between Vickie Nutter and Barry Crist, Educational Administrators of two of the more progressive vocational programs in our state, and slowly an idea began to take shape. What if we could use this opportunity to create a unique onsite learning environment that could become the incubator for several classes to experience some “hands on” learning on a large scale?
Several discussions led us to Roy Neal, Welding Instructor at the Fayette Institute of Technology where he enthusiastically jumped aboard. We put our heads together and turned a simple set of octagonal gazebo plans into a reinforced lamp room with a surrounding widowswalk capable of withstanding the wind shear loads that it would incur being placed one hundred feet into the air on the top of a mountain. Roy recruited fellow instructor Gary Chapman and his drafting students to put our field sketches into a series of AutoCAD drawings. After Bill, the engineer reviewed them for accuracy; they were approved and sent back to Roy for his students to begin production.
Fayette Institute of Technology
At the same time in neighboring Nicholas County, we approached Instructor Joe Hypes who taught welding courses at the Nicholas County Career & Technical Center and discussed the feasibility of his students fabricating a solid steel spiral staircase that would turn out to be ten stories tall! Taking the lead of his counterpart Roy down in Fayette County, Joe tapped into the resources of fellow instructor Dan Cutlip’s Pre-engineering class on the design and layout of what would literally become the backbone of the entire project.
Nicholas County Career & Technical Center
Dan’s Pre-engineering students were more than up to the challenge. Top engineering student, Torli Bush became consumed with dissecting a receding radius spanning 100 feet into a workable staircase complete with four landings, earning him an eventual scholarship nomination. Instructor Dan summed it up best when he stated that this is an incredible venue to develop and showcase the student’s skills, while at the same time building our next generation’s pride in their hometown community literally from the ground up.