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Workshop fulfills children’s desire to build

July 30, 2013 12:00AM

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Sarah Wood, a 4th grader from Frontenac, uses a pneumatic nail gun to put the finishing touches on her birdhouse. Sarah is one of about 20 youngsters participating in Construct Your Future I this week.

In his career, Joe Levens has overseen massive, multi-million-dollar construction projects, but on Tuesday, July 23, he was focused on a birdhouse and a 9-year-old girl.

Levens, an assistant professor in PSU’s School of Construction, steadied the birdhouse as Sarah Wood, soon to be a fourth grader at Frank Layden Elementary School in Frontenac, gritted her teeth and pulled the trigger on a pneumatic nail gun.

Sarah’s aim was true and she was ready to head to the next station to drill a home for a lucky finch.

Sarah was one of about 20 students in “Construct Your Future I,” Pittsburg State University’s week-long workshop for kids.

Students in the construction workshops, Construct Your Future I and Construct Your Future II, learn the basics of construction and then put those skills to work creating things like homes for birds and dogs.

“We start with safety,” said Jim Otter, director of the PSU School of Construction. “Students learn about the construction they see going on around them every day. Yesterday they mixed concrete and cast pillars. Today they're building birdhouses. On Friday, they'll be introduced to some bigger equipment and we’ll smash the pillars to see how much stress they can take.”

Otter said the hands-on workshop appeals to children, who have a natural desire to create and build and sometimes even smash things.

©2013 Pittsburg State University