News about Building Construction

Firm Establishes Scholarship Fund for Masonry Students’ Benefit

Debra M. Miller, Penn College’s vice president for institutional advancement, accepts a check for The Witmer Group Scholarship from Roger Derr (left), senior vice president-masonry restoration, and Ken Schwebel, company president.

A Pennsylvania-based, nationally recognized masonry subcontracting business that regularly recruits graduates of Pennsylvania College of Technology has established an annual scholarship at the institution.

The fund was begun by The Witmer Group, headquartered in Mount Joy, and will generate two $2,500 awards each year to full-time students who have successfully completed two semesters at the college. Preference will be given to students enrolled in the building construction technology: masonry emphasis major who have a minimum GPA of 2.75.

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The Writing on the Wall

Words to live by

A closeup of students' craft

A handcrafted addition to a hallway in Penn College’s School of Construction & Design Technologies – espousing “honesty,” “integrity” and “respect” – shows off students’ skills while offering bywords for the campus community. From a seed planted with faculty last fall by Marc E. Bridgens, dean of the school, the idea grew into a spring project for Peter Kruppenbacher’s CCM 440 (Woodworking: Art, Craft and Design) classes. “We worked with Rob Wozniak in the architecture area to find a font that would work,” the assistant professor of building construction technology said, “and he printed out full-size templates for us to use as patterns.” Two sections of Kruppenbacher’s class worked on the letters off and on between other projects throughout the semester, helping to lay out, cut, prepare and install the letters on a wall near the carpentry labs in the Carl Building Technologies Center.

Penn College Graduates Commissioned in ROTC Ceremony

From left, Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour, Daniel G. Curtin, of Berwick; Craig W. Robbins, of Newton, New Jersey; Daniel H. Pulinski, of Penfield, New York; Kyle A. Csorba; of Trenton, New Jersey; and Carolyn R. Strickland, vice president for enrollment management/associate provost.

Four new Pennsylvania College of Technology graduates experienced a second milestone during the college’s commencement weekend: commissioning as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Kyle A. Csorba, of Trenton, New Jersey; Daniel G. Curtin, of Berwick; Daniel H. Pulinski, of Penfield, New York; and Craig W. Robbins, of Newton, New Jersey, received the honor during an Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps ceremony at Bucknell University.

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Historic Number of Penn College Students Headed to Nationals

SkillsUSA Pennsylvania

Seventeen first-place winners from Pennsylvania College of Technology have advanced to the 52nd annual National SkillsUSA Conference, to be held from June 20-24 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Three other students finished in the top four places in their respective categories during the SkillsUSA Pennsylvania Leadership and Skills Conference held earlier this month in Hershey.

“I feel great about the students’ performance at the state competition. It goes to show how well-prepared the students are from their respective fields and how great our instructors are here at the college,” said James N. Colton II, assistant professor of welding and the college’s SkillsUSA adviser. “This is, by far, the most diverse group of students I’ve had go to the competition. The national competition gives us a chance to showcase our technical skills and show everyone why we’re a leader in applied technology. I hope next year we can increase the number going to nationals and continue to make the college proud.”

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Masonry Novices Explore the ‘Arch’ in ‘Architecture’

Adorned with their alma mater, Penn Staters work to beat the clock.

From Happy Valley to serious business, coaching a teammate to an ultimate second-place design.

Surveying the landscape, ready to offer assistance as the mortar flies, are (from left) building construction technology: masonry emphasis majors Gwendolyn M. Wagner, of Cressona, and Nicholas E. Mills, of Tyrone; and faculty members Robert P. Gresko and Glenn R Luse.

The stuff of selfies: After scouring the lab for a serviceable keystone to top their Gothic arch, Penn State students celebrate the stability of their handiwork.

Scurrying into position and flashing a "No. 1" for their winning amalgamation, the day's winners savor their success.

More than 40 Penn State architecture students journeyed to Penn College’s Construction Masonry Building on Monday, a yearly assignment that supplements their studio work with the practical know-how required to breathe life into their designs. Students and instructors from the college’s School of Construction & Design Technologies ferried the guests among four stations, familiarizing them with technique and a variety of materials. After a break for lunch, four groups of 11 students each were tasked with crafting a project that incorporated brick, block, mountain stone and at least one archway. At the end of their Herculean 45-minute deadline, when Penn State instructor Reggie Aviles shouted, “Time’s up, trowels down!” the groups’ creations were judged – and the winners granted bragging rights for the brief duration of the semester.

Penn College Salutes ‘Women in Construction’

“Women in Construction Week” offers a reminder of the career opportunities represented within Penn College’s School of Construction & Design Technologies.

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s School of Construction & Design Technologies is celebrating Women in Construction Week, with multiple activities planned to highlight the women enrolled in construction-related majors at Penn College.

Women in Construction Week (March 6-12) is an opportunity for the National Association of Women in Construction to showcase women’s contributions to the construction industry.

Carol A. Lugg, assistant dean of construction and design technologies at the college, hopes to raise awareness locally on behalf of the NAWIC’s national efforts. From 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, the Carl Building Technologies Center will host regional high school girls interested in career opportunities in the construction industry at an event that will include a presentation and laboratory tours by current Penn College students pursuing construction majors.

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Masonry Student: Career Choice ‘Hit Me Like a Ton of Bricks’

Anthony J. DiBucci

Anthony J. DiBucci, of Pittsburgh, enrolled in building construction technology: masonry emphasis major, wrote the initial article for a new Masonry Design Blog feature. Headlined “How I Work,” DiBucci shares a glimpse into a typical day at Penn College and a reverent perspective on his meticulous craft of choice. “I know I’m in a field that will allow me to leave my presence on the world through projects I build,” he writes. “Masonry leaves a permanent mark, and if we want that mark to be filled with creativity and imagination, we must be knowledgeable in the field in which we work. The creation of a skilled mason’s work will be there always as an enduring reminder of a human being’s need to create and build.”
Photos by Zachery T. Kane, student photographer

And to Top It All Off …

Students pour the mortar that will adhere the concrete tabletop to its stone base.

Luse reacts to the class's "level" of craftsmanship.

Hintz lays down a bead of caulk between the halves.

Who needs a lift truck with a team of students to do the heavy toting?

An impressive community project is celebrated with a photo op.

The finishing touches on two stand-up patio tables incorporating material salvaged from the original Williamsport Hospital building – including the 1890 date stones and a portion of decorative terra cotta – were completed Wednesday by students and faculty from Penn College’s School of Construction & Design Technologies. Begun in August by students in the Masonry Principles courses, the tables were topped by two polished slabs fabricated with the help of the Concrete Construction class and attractively flecked with multicolored glass. The tables are companion pieces to another college contribution: a 600-pound welded baseball glove at the front entrance to the Hospitality Inn at Williamsport Regional Medical Center. The students were joined on-site by Glenn R. Luse, masonry instructor; Harry W. Hintz Jr., instructor of construction technology; and Marc E. Bridgens, dean of the school. Also involved in the project was Franklin H. Reber, instructor of construction technology.

Masonry Students Aid Sensory Garden, Feel Community’s Gratitude

A “Penn College 2015” brick signifies the workmanship by instructor Glenn R. Luse (in suspenders) and nine students from his Advanced Masonry class, who constructed accessible flower beds at the Lysock View Complex.

Nine masonry students from Pennsylvania College of Technology recently installed accessible flower beds at the Lysock View Complex near Montoursville, receiving personal satisfaction and public acknowledgment of their much-appreciated community service.

The students, from instructor Glenn R. Luse’s Advanced Masonry Principles class, raised the beds to wheelchair height at the Lycoming County Sensory Garden so that disabled residents have an equal opportunity to exercise their green thumbs. In the process, the construction majors – who are used to having their projects disassembled at the end of class – have a tangible and lasting reminder of their shared skills.

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National Construction Advisory Board Includes Penn College Faculty

Building construction technology instructors Levon A. Whitmyer (left) and Barney A. Kahn IV represent Penn College on the National Association of Home Builders Student Chapters Advisory Board.

Two faculty members in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s building construction technology department recently participated in the National Association of Home Builders Student Chapters Advisory Board meeting in Dallas, Texas.

In addition to serving on the national board, instructors Barney A. Kahn IV and Levon A. Whitmyer serve on subcommittees: Kahn is a member of the two-year competition and awards subcommittees, and Whitmyer sits on the four-year competition and nominating subcommittees.

“Being two of 15 educational members gives the college a significant national platform to lead our students into an industry that is in need of new young members,” Whitmyer said. “Barney and I never realized how important this volunteer position would be at placing us in the discussions at this level. We now realize that Penn College’s School of Construction & Design Technologies has the opportunity to become a national influence in the delivery of residential construction education.”

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Agreement Provides Transfer Path for Williamson Grads

Representatives of Williamson College of the Trades and Pennsylvania College of Technology: from left, Williamson President Michael J. Rounds; Carol A. Lugg, Penn College’s assistant dean of construction and design technology; and Thomas E. Wisneski, Williamson’s vice president of education, sign an articulation agreement that eases the transfer of Williamson graduates to Penn College’s residential construction technology and management bachelor-degree major.

Williamson College of the Trades and Pennsylvania College of Technology have forged an agreement that will ease the pursuit of a bachelor’s degree for Williamson graduates.

Students in Williamson’s construction technology programs will benefit from a transfer pathway into Penn College’s Bachelor of Science degree in residential construction technology and management without repeating coursework.

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Distinguished Alumnus Honored at Summer Commencement

Warren A. Peter receives the Distinguished Alumni Award from Davie Jane Gilmour, president of Pennsylvania College of Technology, at the college’s Summer 2015 commencement ceremonies.

Pennsylvania College of Technology presented its Distinguished Alumni Award to Warren A. Peter during Summer 2015 commencement ceremonies held Aug. 8 at the Community Arts Center, Williamsport.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is given to those who have made significant contributions in their chosen fields, demonstrated the importance of their Penn College education, participated in leadership roles within the community, and demonstrated a commitment to the college and community relations.

Peter graduated from Penn College’s immediate predecessor, Williamsport Area Community College, in 1974 with an Associate of Applied Science in carpentry and building construction technology.

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Construction Deans Nurture Big Potential in Little Hands

Smiles after a constructive morning's work

The “Summer Bunch” from Penn College’s Dunham Children’s Learning Center visited a School of Construction & Design Technologies lab over two days this past week for a hands-on look at the builder’s trade. In separate visits Monday and Wednesday, the boys and girls learned about the proper use of tools; built wooden toolboxes with Marc E. Bridgens, the school dean; and were interviewed and photographed by assistant dean Carol A. Lugg. (When told that their parents could use the souvenir to carry around their tools, one girl responded, “My dad carries them one by one. He doesn’t need a toolbox.”)

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Soon-to-Be-Grads Grab One More Tool on Way to Work

Matthew D. Bohlen

Ryan T. Fry

Zachary R. Beaver

Zachary A. Green

Four students graduating Friday from the School of Construction & Design Technologies spent much of the day in the carpentry lab, demonstrating their acquired talents in hopes of attaining a Pennsylvania Builders Association advanced skill endorsement. For several hours, the students – Zachary R. Beaver, of Danville; Matthew D. Bohlen, of Lancaster; Ryan T. Fry, of Nazareth; and Zachary A. Green, of Kensington, Maryland – were put through a series of competencies developed by Levon A. Whitmyer, instructor of building construction technology, based on industry standards. Under the watchful eyes of faculty (including Whitmyer and Barney A. Kahn IV, instructor of building construction technology), the students demonstrated layouts for wall, stairs, rafters and porches; framing skills; exterior finishing; drywall; and trim and millwork. The PBA, which has endorsed the college’s building construction technology and building construction technology: masonry emphasis majors, offers the advanced skill credential to increase students’ credibility as they enter the labor force. Fry is earning his degree in residential construction technology and management; the others are graduating in building construction technology. Windows, longer-length lumber and other materials used in the testing were donated by Your Building Centers.

Cub Scouts Build Souvenirs, Memories in Visit to Carpentry Labs

PCCA members enlighten area Cub Scouts in a mutually beneficial (and enjoyable) visit.

Cub Scouts join their hosts and chaperones in showing off their birdhouses and toolboxes.

The Penn College Construction Association welcomed the Muncy Cub Scouts to campus on Monday. The Scouts arrived at the carpentry labs for an evening filled with fun, as they learned how to build their own birdhouses and small toolboxes. Every Cub Scout had a PCCA member guide him through the construction of each project. “This was a wonderful event,” said PCCA President Ryan Fry, of Nazareth. “I enjoyed seeing the Cub Scouts enjoy building their very own projects. I think our members had just as much fun as the kids.” The Scouts had a sense of accomplishment after seeing their projects come to fruition. PCCA Historian Alexander E. Eckerd, of Elizabethtown, said: “The club members enjoyed passing their passion for construction down to the next generation. I feel the Cub Scouts greatly enjoyed their time spent with us and will have a lasting memory.” PCCA believes such events are very successful in getting future generations to develop an appreciation for the construction industry. “Another successful task completed by the PCCA,” said organization Secretary Kyle J. Williams, of Oley. “It was truly a great feeling to be able to help the Cub Scouts build these projects, letting them get hands-on and mentoring them with techniques that we learned in our construction classes. Seeing the kids smiling and enjoying every minute of using the tools and building their projects really inspired me, and I hope PCCA continues the tradition!” Fry, Eckerd and Williams are enrolled in the college’s four-year residential construction technology and management major. After the kids completed their projects, faculty member Barney A. Kahn IV led the Cub Scouts on a tour of the construction labs. More photos can be viewed on PCCA Facebook and LinkedIn pages.
Photos by Kahn, instructor of building construction technology