PLAIN CITY — Students in a construction management course at Fremont High School poured and formed concrete pads during class Monday afternoon.
The pads will be a new solid foundation for bleachers along the school’s soccer field, which was improved last school year with new sod.
The school district paid for the concrete. Grant money from Weber State University funded the equipment for the construction course, like tape measures and other tools.
The girls’ and boys’ soccer teams are grateful for the work. Besides a couple of small hills on the side of the field, there weren’t many places for spectators to sit.
During rivalry games that attracted more visitors, the teams had to haul out the bleachers on wheels across the grass. Emerson Law, a senior on the soccer team, said it would take several people on the team to move the heavy bleachers.
The bleachers had to be rolled in and out because they’d sink into the ground.
Law said he thinks the permanent bleachers will increase the number of student spectators who attend the games.
Since the school opened, Fremont hasn’t had a construction program, said Chad Marriott, the school’s career and technical education coordinator. He also oversees construction curriculum across Weber School District.
Marriott started working on building the program at Fremont and across the district three years ago. Fremont piloted a construction course last year and is continuing to grow the program.
Marriott said last year’s course was more theory focused, and he and the school’s construction teacher, Tim Feltner, wanted to bring in more opportunities for practical application.
The construction program has limited funds, so Marriott and Feltner approached the school administration and athletic director to see what projects they could work on, which is how they ended up helping the soccer teams. They’d love to do more work on school property or community projects, he said.
“That’s what I want to do,” Marriott said. “It’s my vision to do as much of this as we can.”
Isaac Gibson, now a senior at Fremont, participated in the pilot class last year. He got a job in construction as a result of a presentation given to the class by R&O Construction.
Gibson started working for R&O in May 2019, and his work included time spent on the Silver Ridge job site, the new Weber district elementary school in Farr West.
He thought he was interested in construction before he worked in the field, but after getting practical experience, he now knows he wants to pursue a career in construction — particularly in the management of construction projects.
His experience also allows him to help his peers.
“Just because I have the experience on the job site and I’ve had experience in the classroom, I’ve been able to help out a lot with some of the kids (in the construction course) who maybe don’t know as much,” Gibson said.
The construction courses at Fremont carry credit through Ogden-Weber Technical College. Those credits are also accepted by Weber State. A construction certificate is not yet offered at Fremont.
In the 1970s, students in Weber School District actually built homes. But because of liability issues and increasing interest in other career areas, the program declined over time, Marriott said.
Marriott wants to change that.
“Our hope is to build a pathway from high school all the way to either the university or tech college,” Marriott said.
The district is also working with private employers to arrange internships through the school district. While construction work used to require students to be 18, local companies are working with the district to allow younger students opportunities to learn.
With large, ongoing construction projects in Salt Lake County — the new state prison and the expansion of the airport — people with training in construction are in high demand.