Freshman Carpentry Students Create Wheelchair Accessible Picnic Tables

FCTS — Poets Seat Tables

Franklin County Technical School freshman Carpentry program students recently delivered six wheelchair accessible picnic tables that they built to the Poet’s Seat Health Care Center in Greenfield.

The oversized tables measure 4.5 feet wide and 12 feet long and can accommodate eight wheelchair-bound people. Carpentry instructor Michael Nobrega said his students were involved in every aspect of the project, beginning with researching American Disability Act guidelines for constructing picnic tables that accommodate wheelchairs, and including design and construction.

The Carpentry shop collaborated with Mike Therrien’s CAD/CAM shop to produce the design of the tables.

“The kids designed the tables in the CAD/CAM shop using ADA regulations,” he said. “Then we went into mass production on a mock job site. Each student had to do their own drawings. They showed a lot of good work ethic. We have strong leaders in this class.”

Nobrega said of Therrien’s contribution to the project, “Mike was a big help. It was a lesson in the manufacturing product development life cycle. This process included customer requirements, design, production, and delivery.”

Twelve students worked on the job in six crews of two. Each crew had a crew leader and had a specifically assigned task for each aspect of the project.

The students enjoyed the challenge of creating the tables and that they were performing a community service.

Caden Lamontagne of Orange has worked on projects like creating sheds, dinner tables and trailers in his free time, and said the end result is very satisfying.

“My uncle made things to sell as a side job; he got me into it,” Lamontagne said. “I like how you can take a pile of wood and make just about anything out of it. You can take it as far as you want.”

Kristin Verdieck of Orange said she is always ready to use her skills for community service projects.

“I enjoy working on projects that helps handicapped people or anyone with a disability who needs help,” she said. “If it means helping people I’ll always do it.”

Patricia Tuttle, Poet’s Seat Health Care Center business manager, said the residents were excited that the new picnic tables allow them to sit close enough for activities and meals.

“We used to have small plastic picnic tables that couldn’t accommodate enough people,” Tuttle said. “This has been a huge benefit for us. Mike Nobrega and his students did a fantastic job. We can’t say enough wonderful things about the school. We can’t thank them enough.”

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