Welding Students Add Personal Touch to Wright Stage

April 17, 2012: If you haven’t been by Columbus Technical College’s Robert L. Wright, Jr. Health Sciences Center lately, you’re in for a treat! Not only is the property greening up by the minute with new sod and lush surroundings but the stage on the front lawn is getting some customized touches as well. Led by program manager and instructor Ronnie McBride, about eight welding students are installing stainless steel handrails.

“You just can’t beat live work experience,” McBride said. “And we’re helping the college. It’s a win-win.” Not only will this project make the stage safer and handicap accessible but it is also providing valuable know-how for welding students and instructors alike. When asked if they learned anything new on the job, McBride revealed a tidbit about welding stainless steel. “It is really easy to warp so you have to watch the temperature. The steel can’t get too hot. We saw this as an issue and solved it as we went. I’ll definitely take that lesson to my future students.”

CTC welding student Daniel Cooper

CTC welding student Daniel Cooper works on the stainless steel railing at the Wright Center stage.

Besides the value of real world experience, by allowing the students to perform the work, it saved Columbus Technical College tens of thousands of dollars. A contractor estimated the work to cost about $90 thousand but McBride and his students were able to do the same job for less than $15 thousand.

CTC welding student and instructor

Measure twice, weld once! Welding program manager and instructor Ronnie McBride (right) and student Jonathan Smith make sure everything is "just right" before welding a handrail at the Wright Center stage.