Real world learning

WHS students begin tours of Excelsior High School site

timestamp icon
category icon Schools
Josh Clark, project engineer for the new Excelsior High School, chats with visiting students from woodworking classes at Washougal High School. This was the first of several visits the students will take to see the construction process in action this semester.

Several high school students recently had a unique opportunity to see how the work they do in class is applicable in real world situations.

Students in Brent Mansell’s Washougal High School’s woodworking classes visited the Excelsior High School construction site last week and learned about the construction process, and also had the opportunity to talk with employees working at the site. It is the first of several visits they’ll make during the semester.

Mansell, who is new to teaching, came up with the idea after dealing with the logistics of attempting to coordinate an offsite field trip.

“We have a lot of resources here with all of the construction going on,” he said. “By visiting the Excelsior site, all we needed to do was walk across the parking lot and we could see the process in action. Just as the students are growing and changing, they also get to see how the building grows and be a part of the process.”

Mansell initially pitched the idea to Margaret Rice, career and technical education director.

“I am really impressed that being a brand new teacher, he had the insight to see what is happening,” she said. “Providing students with this opportunity is pretty neat.”

Rice and Mansell coordinated with district officials as well as Todd Construction, the general contractor for the project.

“They have been terrific to work with and understand the value of a real world education,” Rice said. “They are excited to share the construction experience with our students.”

Added Mansell, “I am hoping that the kids will be connecting what they learn in the classroom to the workforce,” he said.

During the tour, students asked questions ranging from how welding is done to the details of woodworking and beam placement.

Sophomores Troy Prince and Blake Deming enjoyed seeing the inside of the building and learning more about the process.

“Actually seeing the people working here is cool,” Deming said.

Added Prince, “It was interesting how precise everything was. It’s not something you just throw together.”

Construction on a new, $4.8 million Excelsior High School began in June. It is one of several voter-approved bond projects underway in the Washougal School District.

Other bond projects include a new $47 million Jemtegaard Middle School and Columbia River Gorge Elementary at the same site, along with a new $2.3 million transportation facility, $1.2 million in safety and security improvements at district schools, and $1.6 million in roof and HVAC improvements. All projects are expected to be complete by August 2018.