Welding students to make planters | SteamboatToday.com
Tamera Manzanares

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Welding students to make planters

The Hayden High School welding program is at it again. Welding students are making 100 large flower planters for the Steamboat Springs Rotary Club.

The club sells the popular round planters, gushing with blooms, to businesses each year.

Sometimes, there is more demand than supply, so Rotarian Lori Elliott this year asked members about a cost-effective way to have more planters made.

Three of six suggestions were the same: “You’ve got to talk to Hayden High School.”

Word is spreading about the school’s strong program, which produces students certified in the welding trade as well as projects such as trailers and gazebos, which the program sells to people in the community.

“We’ve had quite the following so far … That’s what makes it successful, we’ve had tremendous community support,” instructor Kevin Kleckler said.

Advanced welding students Tyler Manzanares and David Blair are taking on most the work. They will be making the cedar and metal planters in class, using math, woodshop and welding skills, Klecker said.

The Hayden program will be paid $70 a barrel — a price local craftspeople and welding shops couldn’t beat, Elliot said.

The students will earn $1,000 each for their work, and the rest of the profits will go toward equipment in the school’s welding shop.

Business is booming for other projects. Requests for trailers have skyrocketed, and a prototype gazebo students constructed last year has sparked a barrage of orders from residents, Kleckler said.

Students typically turn out eight to 21 trailers each school year, with some going to buyers as far away as Oklahoma.

Although the program doesn’t count on sales in its budget, the money is “icing on the cake” and has helped turn an empty garage in the bus barn into a high-tech welding shop.

The welding program also benefits from grants, including a $30,000 Carl Perkins Technical Program grant awarded to the program for this school year.

With the new planters, the Rotary Club will have 200 planters available next year, Elliott said.

— To reach Tamera Manzanares, call 871-4204 or e-mail tmanzanares@steamboatpilot.com.