November 12, 2013 4:15PM
Earlier this year, the Kansas State Department of Education asked Pittsburg State University's Wood Technology program to build a new desk for the KSDE board room.
“And what we ended up with was a piece of art,” said Dale Dennis, KSDE deputy commissioner.
Pitt State officials, faculty and students visited the KSDE on Tuesday, Nov. 12, for a special presentation on the new desk and other wood components that were built at the university’s Kansas Technology Center.
Diane DeBacker, KSDE commissioner, praised the university for the “hard work and pride” that went into each piece.
“We had a vision for what we wanted in this room,” DeBacker said, “and what we received from Pitt State went far beyond what we could even imagine. The pride and passion they put into the desk and the other pieces in our board room cannot be overstated. They truly are beautiful, and that is a testament to the quality of the program and people at Pittsburg State.”
Pitt State wood technology faculty Doug Hague and Charlie Phillips spent nearly 800 hours building the desk, tables and cabinets. Both said it was an “honor” to see their work now being used at the state capital.
“It’s a lot of fun to see the board members up there behind the desk that we built,” Hague said. “It’s one thing to see these pieces in an empty room, but it’s another to see them being used by very important people and where important decisions are made. There is a great sense of pride with that, especially knowing these pieces will be here for decades.”
The desk, which accommodates 13 people, is made of quarter-paneled walnut and zebra wood, which Phillips described as an “exotic material.” It also features a special treat: a wooden cutout of the state of Kansas in the center.
“We thought having the state of Kansas right in the middle would be a nice touch, and it allows us to show off even more of what we’re capable of,” Phillips said. “We take great pride in being asked to do this, and we wanted to be top-notch with it. We want the state education officials to be proud to sit at this desk during their meetings.”
Pittsburg State President Steve Scott said the quality of work on the desk is “exactly what you’d expect” from the university’s wood technology program.
“You could feel the energy in the room when it was time to talk about this fine work,” Scott said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the work our faculty and students put into this project, and I truly think it’s going to be marker of Pitt State’s excellence for many, many years and decades.”