December 2005

Faculty and students beautify steel company

Toledo, OH— When Charles Stewart and the late Don Leonhardt, Owens Community College Manufacturing Technologies faculty members, heard that steel donor North Star BlueScope Steel LLC was embarking on a more than $3 million community beautification project surrounding their facilities in Delta, they asked what they could do to help.

Since raising the question, both the Owens faculty and welding program students set out to come up with their very own beautification project for North Star and decided upon the creation of a blue heron sculpture to present as a company gift. The sculpture is expected to be placed within North Star’s complex and serve as a focal point at the facility entrance.

According to Stewart, North Star BlueScope Steel LLC donates as much $140,000 in steel to Owens each year, assisting in the certification of more than 400 welding students annually.

“The steel that North Star donates every year is instrumental to the Manufacturing Technologies program here at Owens,” stated Stewart, an Owens assistant professor of Manufacturing Technologies. “Participating in this project is a great way to say thank you for all they do for us.”

Plans for North Star’s beautification project call for natural low-maintenance prairie grasses, mounds, trees, shrubbery, fountains and a five-acre pond to improve the facility’s visual quality. Placed near the pond will be the sculptures of the three large blue herons that were envisioned, welded and constructed by Stewart, Bob Williams of Manitou Beach, Michigan, Owens associate professor of Manufacturing Technologies, and 12 students.

The sculptures, which feature three 175 lb. birds with 12-foot wingspans made from donated North Star steel, is said to reflect one bird in a landing sequence. Stewart, along with Williams and the Owens students, dedicated more than 20 hours a week for over six months to complete the sculptures.

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