Students are working to complete construction of Eastlake’s new skate park at Northern Career Institute Willoughby, gaining career experience and developing long-lasting recreation equipment.
The project is about halfway done, according to NCI welding instructor Mark Stevens. Excel TECC students in Mayfield had designed the award-winning skate park and NCI welding students took on the construction.
“Kids are doing all the work, Mr. (Mike) Kirchhevel and myself are just guiding them,” Stevens said. “And these are juniors. Usually I would have my seniors work on a project like this, but because it’s so big, we got to have all of the kids working together. So they’re learning a lot, right out of the gate here.”
The completed park will feature five pieces of skate equipment. Some parts of the equipment, including skate ramps, can’t fit through the shop doors so they will have to be completed at the park. The project is expected to be done by this spring.
Stevens mentioned that the previous skate park was built with wood parts that ended up rotting. Now, NCI students are using steel to create the new ramps and skate equipment.
“This thing’s going to last forever,” he said. “You can see how heavy it is… It’s going to outlast all of us, that’s for sure.”
Junior Nick Kaucic has been working to grind parts for a couple of months in order to help them fit together. He said that he hopes to start a welding career after graduating
“It’s like a head-start to life,” he said. “Even if you don’t want to do this after high school, you still have the knowledge of it.”
Eastlake Mayor Dennis Morley commented that the city anticipates the project being completed.
“The teachers are always phenomenal when we come in here, so we’re looking forward to when it gets done and we can get it up and running,” Morley said. “I mean, you talk to the kids here — they enjoy doing all this.”
The new skate park will be located where the previous one had been at 34877 Roberts Road.