Potomac State, Mineral County Technical Center Working Together

The Farmer’s Almanac may be calling for another dreary winter but this year it will be more “colorful in Keyser with bright blue and gold “PS” and “WV” snowflakes falling from the Potomac State College of West Virginia University campus. This enhancement to the holiday decorations comes as a result of a collaboration between the College and the Mineral County Technical Center.

The snowflakes were hung on the north side of Science Hall and lit for the first time Christmas Eve 2007.  Thirty four snowflakes ranging in size from four to 10 feet were illuminated with white incandescent rope lights. Over the years, however, the plastic in the rope lights became brittle and cracked leaving sections of the snowflakes dark. While the College’s Maintenance Department made repairs as needed, the burnt out sections were becoming too numerous.

“We made a commitment to the community years ago to begin a new holiday tradition with the ‘PS’ and ‘WV’ snowflakes,” said Campus President Leonard Colelli. “In order to continue this holiday promise and keep the snowflakes lit, we needed to upgrade the materials making them more energy efficient with LED lights and we thought while we’re at it, let’s promote the WVU theme even more with blue and gold lights.”

Purchasing the required materials was the easy part of the project, the problem came in the time and labor required to remove the incandescent lights and restring the snowflakes with the new LED lights.  The College’s Maintenance Department didn’t have the manpower to devote to such a labor-intensive project with its many other jobs across campus so that’s when the College reached out to the Mineral County Technical Center hoping this could be an endeavor for the students in the computer repair and carpentry programs.

“I was thrilled to get the call from Potomac State College,” said Joseph Keckley, Principal of the Mineral County Technical Center. “We want to be a contributing member of the community and this would be a perfect opportunity to showcase our students’ skills and capabilities. Plus, it would give our students hands-on experience dealing with a real-world job that involved materials and planning, workmanship, teamwork, and deadlines.”

Technical Center Instructors Jim Spurling, Project Lead the Way and Computer Repair, and Jay Dolly, General Building Instruction, assessed the project and determined it to be achievable for their advanced students. “All our students are members of the Mineral County Chapter of Skills USA, a national organization that provides educational programs, events and competitions that support career and technical education,” explained Spurling. “This project definitely fulfills the organization’s required community service activity.”

So, students began working on the lights the first week of October and will have them done in time for the College to mount them on Science Hall the week before Thanksgiving. ”Our plan is to light them Friday, Dec. 5, the night of the county’s Christmas parade,” said Dr. Colelli.

Rachael Messenger, a senior at Frankfort High School and the lone female on the project, says she remembers the snowflakes since she was 10 years old. “This is really kind of cool. I didn’t anticipate them being as big as they are. The restringing was a little difficult at first but once we got our rhythm down, it got easier. When we see these up on the building and lit, it will all be worth it.”

“The students have had a lot of fun with this project,” said Dolly. “They’re going to look up on the hill for years to come and say, ‘I had a hand in that,’ and think it’s pretty neat.”

Joshua Ritchie, a Keyser High School senior, says, “I’m appreciative of this experience because it has given me the confidence to do this type of work in my personal life. Plus, I’m happy to volunteer to help the community.”

The finishing touch to the snowflakes will involve reanimating the off-and-on sequencing to give the illusion of falling and moving across the building in different patterns. This technical service will be provided by PSC Computer Information Systems Visiting Instructor Jill Schaumloeffel and some of her CIS students.

In addition to all the students and instructors involved, the College wants to thank Bill Boggs, Proprietor of Boggs Supply Company, for donating his time and rollback truck to transport the larger snowflakes back and forth between the College and Technical Center.

“This is a fantastic town and gown endeavor,” said Dr. Colelli.  “What better season for us all to work together for the betterment of our community.”

Snowflakes at PSC

Mineral County Technical Center students are helping Potomac State College of WVU upgrade their holiday decorations by restringing the “PS” and “WV” snowflakes with new LED blue and gold rope lights. The Frankfort and Keyser High School students are currently enrolled in Jim Spurling’s Computer Repair and Jay Dolly’s General Building Construction classes. Pictured from left are: Ryan Kunis, Rachel Messenger, Caden Mullen, Ethen Whitlock, Joshua Ritchie, Isaac Talkington, Cody Hebb, Ethan Liller, and Cameron Appleyard. Not pictured are Malachi McCloud and Tyler Logsdon. The 34 enhanced snowflakes, ranging in size from four to 10 feet, will be mounted on the side of Science Hall on the PSC campus in time for the holiday season.

 

Snowflakes at PSC
Mineral County Technical Center students are helping Potomac State College upgrade their holiday decorations by restringing the “PS” and “WV” snowflakes with new LED blue and gold rope lights. Pictured from left are Frankfort High School students participating in this project from Technical Center Instructor Jay Dolly’s General Building Construction class: Caden Mullen, Cameron Appleyard, Rachel Messsenger, Cody Hebb, Isaac Talkington, (Adult Student Joseph Simpson), instructor Jay Dolly, Ethan Liller. And Tyler Logsdon.  The enhanced snowflakes will be mounted on the side of Science Hall on the PSC campus in time for the holiday season.

 

snowflakes at PSC
Pictured with Technical Center Instructor Jim Spurling, Project Lead the Way and Computer Repair, far left, are Keyser High School students Ryan Kunis and Ethen Whitlock. Other KHS students included, but not pictured, are Joshua Ritchie and Malachi McCloud. Also participating in this project but not pictured are Frankfort High School students from Technical Center Instructor Jay Dolly’s General Building Construction class, Caden Mullen, Cameron Appleyard, Rachel Messsenger, Cody Hebb, Isaac Talkington, (Adult Student Joseph Simpson), Ethan Liller and Tyler Logsdon.

 

 snowflakes at PSC
Pictured with Technical Center Principal Joseph Keckley, far right, are Keyser High School students Joshua Ritchie, left, and Malachi McCloud.