Bonner woods students help district save money
By Nicole Kelley
Crews working on the new addition to the Bonner Springs High School concession stand are getting a little help from an unexpected group.
Students in Kris Munsch’s woodworking classes at the high school have taken on the challenge of building 60 feet of cabinets for the concession stand’s new kitchen. In less than a month, the students have nearly completed the project and will soon see their work installed in a building that will be used by many in the Bonner Springs community.
“We’re trying to give (the students) real life skills,” said USD 204 superintendent Robert Van Maren. “The kids love doing it. If we keep the kids engaged in real work, they’re more interested in it.”
Van Maren said having the students build the cabinets saved the district $22,000 from the already $200,000 project.
Munsch said when Van Maren first approached him about the project, he was a little unsure because of the number of cabinets needed and the short turn around. But in the end, he said he knew it would be a great learning experience for the students, and he decided to give it shot.
“(The students) have just been amazing,” Munsch said. “They just took to the project and ran with it. They’ve been building cabinets like crazy.”
Almost every level of student that Munsch teaches has been involved in the project in some way, Munsch said, with his advanced students taking on the majority. From getting the design down and making plans to picking materials and cutting the wood, Munsch said the students have done it all.
But it isn’t just the students who have been learning as the project progresses. Munsch said while he had built several pieces of furniture, this was his first time tackling cabinets. Together, the teacher and students became better with each cabinet they produced.
“It’s real world experience you can’t get anywhere else,” Munsch said.
When discussing the project with the students, Munsch said he tried to emphasize how different this project is from the other projects students make for their own homes.
“I told them to imagine themselves walking up to that concession counter 10 years from now, maybe holding the hand of their own son and being able to say, ‘I helped build those cabinets there,’” Munsch said. “Now that’s cool. So many people are going to see these kids’ work. It’s one of those things they’re always going to remember.”
After the cabinets are installed, the students will go to the concession stand and measure for counter tops and build those, as well.
The concession stand project includes an addition to the front of the existing structure that will be used for preparing and selling food items at games. The old area of the structure will become storage, which was lacking before. There will also be new ceiling fans and updated paint to give the structure a more attractive appearance.
In addition to the concession stand’s real-world application, Munsch said he was trying to make the woodworking department more self-sufficient. His students have been involved with projects such as the Head Start sign and have plans to make a sign for McDanield Learning Center and advertising signs for the baseball fields.
Students have also been making chip and dip trays and diploma plaques that can be purchased by the community.