Welding Students Build Shade Structures for Designated Smoking Areas

November 5, 2014 -- Smokers at CNM will get some relief from the sun, thanks to student-built shade structures in designated smoking areas.
July 16, 2015

Last year, the CNM Governing Board approved a proposal to make all CNM campuses smoke-free except in “designated smoking areas,” which are generally away from high-pedestrian traffic areas in order to avoid second-hand smoke issues.

“The problem with this was that smoking areas were mostly in locations without shade,” said Jennifer Cornish, member of Smoking Policy Team assigned to implement the new measure and CNM’s multi-campus director.

Cornish and other team members thought about it and came up with a solution – shade structures built by CNM’s Welding Department. She approached welding instructors Jim Berry and Ron Hackney to see what they thought about the idea.

“We jumped on it,” Hackney said. “We saw it as a way for students to fabricate a life-size project that involved not only welding but assembly, procedure and bending.”

CNM welding students generally learn the trade by doing small projects where they practice techniques. But this would give them real-world welding experience. The team gave the Welding Department $15,000 to cover basic materials needed for the metal shade structures, but the students did all the work.

Berry and Hackney studied bus stops to see how they were built and developed a similar, but upgraded design, Berry said.

It takes about 50 hours for the students, working in teams of three, to build the shade structures. They are all metal with openings and painted CNM blue.

Only the third- and fourth-term students who are nearly ready to obtain their welding tech certificates or associate degrees are permitted to work on the structures

The first structure was recently erected at the Rio Rancho campus. Others will be installed as they get built at Main, Montoya, South Valley and Westside campuses, as well as the Workforce Training Center and Advanced Technology Center. The Main and Rio Rancho structures will both be lit at night by a photovoltaic-powered lighting system. “Because this has been such a wonderful learning experience for our students, we are thinking of building other types of shade structures for places where students sit when waiting for a bus, for example,” Hackney said.”

He added that the students were really excited about building the structures and had a lot of pride in their work. “Some even came in on weekends to work on them,” he said.

Click here to see video of the construction of the first shade structure.