DCIT students build tables for Hartsville waterpark

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, slyles@newsandpress.net

Carpentry and woodworking students at Darlington County Institute of Technology (DCIT) are working on a building project that will eventually be enjoyed by thousands of local residents and tourists.

The Neptune Island Water Park, slated to open this June in Hartsville, contacted DCIT with the idea to use student labor to build picnic tables for the park.

“Our policy here is that if anybody from an outside agency comes to us with a proposal, I will talk to the instructor and see if it’s something that would benefit the kids. If it involves skills they need to learn or experience that would be good for them, then we’ll do it – so long as the entity that proposes the project covers the cost of materials and equipment. We don’t charge for labor,” says Robbie Smith, DCIT director.
Jack Parker, DCIT carpentry instructor, says the table builders are a mixed group of 10th through 12th graders aged 16 to 18 with varying levels of experience. Parker says that the students have gotten their procedures down pat and are now averaging three completed picnic tables per period.

So far, the DCIT students have taken stacks of treated 2×6 boards and built 16 sturdy picnic tables, and they plan to make 16 more. The 32 tables will be used in the Neptune Island Party and Group Pavilions.

Parker says it’s novel for the kids to build something they will be able to locate and show their friends and family, and he’s encouraged them to add their initials to the bottom of each completed picnic table so when they visit the water park, they can find those they built with their own hands.

“If they’re over there, they can tell their mom or their kids or whoever that this is the one I built,” says Parker.

The new water park will be able to host 1,300 visitors, which is eight times the current Piratesville Splash Pad capacity. Water park features will include two tubular water slides and three mat racing slides, a 1,000-foot lazy river, a zero entry pool, a wave pool, and a speed body slide. The park will also offer cabana rentals, party huts, and food trucks.

Smith says DCIT carpentry students have gotten to work on several interesting projects this year, including a number of blessing boxes for Junior Leadership of Darlington County, an 8×12 storage building with metal roofing and sides, and trendy “tiny houses” with sleeping lofts and kitchens. These building projects take place on school grounds (due to student safety and liability issues).

“Every once in a while, we have a group that goes out and gets some service learning experience on a site, but most everything we build is done here on campus,” says Smith.

If you have a carpentry project you think might be of interest to DCIT students, please contact Robbie Smith at 843-398- 4726.

Author: Stephan Drew

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