Brooke students lend their building skills

WELLSBURG – Students in Ralph Smith’s building construction class at Brooke High School have lent their skills to the Brooke County Salvation Army.

Shortly before the school year ended, the students built a storage building at the Salvation Army’s service center at 401 Commerce St., the latest among projects that have helped the class to gain work experience while also providing a service to a community-based organization.

Earlier this year the class built a picnic shelter at Beech Bottom’s Third Street Playground. Members of Laborers International Union of North America Local 809 also provided volunteer labor for the shelter.

Smith noted his students also built the sets for three plays staged by the school’s theater department this year as well as setting up the stage and 400 chairs used in the school’s commencement program.

As a former assistant principal at Brooke High School, Ken Hart, now retired and a member of the Brooke County Salvation Army’s advisory board, knew the students could be counted on to do a quality job. So he approached the school about constructing the building where Salvation Army staff will store maintenance and repair equipment. Hart noted the Salvation Army supplied materials for the building.

Smith said the students cut sheeting and siding for the building at the school, then transported it by trailer to the service center.

There they assembled the structure within hours, taking a 10-minute break when it rained, Hart said.

The students also layed the concrete floor for the building.

(Scott can be contacted at