- Associated Press - Thursday, May 7, 2015

LEIGHTON, Ala. (AP) - Once they got their instructions, members of Jeff McKinney’s vocational agricultural class went to work transforming a 5-by-8 enclosed cargo trailer into a cold storage trailer.

From putting up pieces of insulation on the walls, ceiling and doors, to putting down new flooring, putting in screws, making precise measurements for the walls, and caulking, the boys and girls in the class - commonly referred to as VoAg - at Colbert County High School worked together to finish the task.

“One thing we learned is to work as a team,” senior Cody Gargis said. “Everyone has something to do.”

“It’s been a challenge,” senior Calvin Berryman added, “but that’s what I like about ag; it is challenging.”

McKinney, vocational agricultural teacher at the school, said the project consisted of taking a plain, enclosed cargo trailer, dismantling it to nothing but the aluminum shell, and building it back.

He said they’re putting in four inches of insulation, plywood, reinforced plastic, new flooring and installing metal striping and an air conditioning unit.

“They’re having to be very precise in what they’re doing because it has to seal tight to keep the temperatures cold,” McKinney said.

The project is spearheaded by the Northwest Alabama Resource Conservation and Development Council.

Charlie Meek, executive director of the Council, said $25,000 was secured from the state for the project.

“It’s a pilot project of sorts,” Meek said. “Once the cold storage trailers are completed, they will be placed in areas of the state and used by farmers to store products and transport them to market.”

Meek said one of the trailers will be placed in the Northwest RC&D; region, which consists of Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Marion and Winston counties.

McKinney said 75 students are working on the project. He said the class works about two to three hours a day.

“This is just a part of their regular classwork,” McKinney said. “It’s really been an awesome project for the students. Woodworking, sheet metal, carpentry, electrical - it’s all been a part of this project.”

Senior Colton Mask said the project has been a good learning experience.

“I enjoy this. I want to be a builder,” Mask said. “This is the kind of experience I need. We’re using everything we’ve learned on this project.”

McKinney said it takes the students as long as 2½ weeks to build one of the units.

“The plan was to do the first, get it completed and learn from what they did, and then build one at a time,” he said. “They did so well on the first one that we started the other three all at the same time. They’re all in different stages, but they are underway.”

Meek said this is the first project of this type in the state.

“We opened it up for any school in the area and Colbert County was the only one who wanted it, and they have done a great job,” he said.

McKinney said the students have done all of the work.

“If they had a question I would assist, but it was their project, not mine, and they did it,” he said.

“We had to use all our skills, but it turned out good,” said Berryman, standing next to the completed trailer. “Honestly, it’s better than any of us expected, and we’re proud of it.”


Information from: TimesDaily, https://www.timesdaily.com/

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