Washington County Career Center students transform DAV post with renovations
MARIETTA — The Disabled American Veterans Post No. 52 sits up a quiet lane north of Marietta, an out-of-the-way setting perfect for spending a quiet afternoon in the country or holding a birthday or anniversary party.
But until recently, the building itself was showing its age, with acoustic ceiling tiles drooping, insulation sagging overhead and dim, old fluorescent lighting.
One of the post’s members contacted Alan Hall, instructor in the Washington County Career Center Building Technology, and told him about the sad state of repair of the old building. The building technology program, as part of its curriculum, sends its adult education students out on field projects to give them real-world experience, and Hall decided the DAV post would be one of them.
The building was in dire need of work, said Ed Layman, one of the 11-student crew who went out to work on it in September.
“There were old ceiling tiles falling out — they were nailed — and the roof was leaking. We fixed the ventilation system, a lot of the heat and cooling was just going into the attic,” he said.
It was an important project for Layman, a Navy veteran.
“The post people were very appreciative, and I was very honored to be able to do it,” he said.
Jack Haas, a member of the post, said the work transformed the site.
“Those guys, they were just out of this word, they made such a difference in this hall,” he said. “They did a wonderful job.”
Having a newly renovated building will make a difference for the post because it rents out the premises for parties and other gatherings. Haas said it will be the site for a district meeting next week, with DAV representatives attending from all over the southern part of the state.
The post membership numbers 178. Haas said it was established in 1951, and the concrete building dates back to that time.
The project had special significance for another building technology student, Stephen Oates, who served nine years in the Marines.
“That building is where we had our grad party,” he said. “I used to live just down at the bottom of the hill from it.”
Hall said the crew installed a suspended ceiling, new LED lighting, repaired the heating and air conditioning system and made some fixes to the electrical system.
“We worked it in between some other projects, but we made it a priority. It was a need, and these guys gave too much to our country not to put them first,” he said.
There might be more to come.
“We plan to go out in the spring to do some concrete work,” he said. “That threshold, when it was built, it wasn’t really made handicap accessible.”
The Building Technology program is part of the career center’s adult education division.
“It encompasses everything,” Hall said. “Concrete, masonry, electrical, the whole realm of construction.” Other projects the class has taken on include work for several churches, renovations to the WCCC buildings, which he said date back to the 1970s, and some help for the Williamstown Police Department.