Massabesic High School student Chase Boisvert and Noble High School students Lukas Hughes, and William “Buddy” Hennelly pause by the benches at Gateway Park in Sanford that they had a hand in crafting as did some students the previous year. The three attend Sanford Regional Technical Center. COURTESY PHOTO/SRTC

SANFORD — After all the turkey and football, the Black Friday shopping and weekend events, some might like to just sit and rest a spell.

They can sit and read a book, gaze at the waterfall or, contemplate that lengthy Christmas list of tasks yet to be accomplished.

Or just sit and relax….

Now at Gateway Park, they can do that since brand new, locally crafted, benches have been installed.

Students at Sanford Regional Technical Center  have been working on the bench project over the last couple of years. 

This semester, Chase Boisvert, a student at Massabesic High School and Lukas Hughes and William “Buddy” Hennelly, both of Noble High School, finished up the project begun by Massabesic’s Matt Landry and James Lawrence of Traip Academy in Kittery a year ago. Landry and Lawrence graduated in June.

First came the task of deciding which designs would work. Welding instructor Adam Hartford said Landry and Lawrence examined a number of designs and chose four they thought students could fabricate. They brought the designs to the Gateway Park Committee, which settled on one they liked best.

Then came the fabrication and the resulting product — but there was still work to be done.

That is where Hennelly, Hughes and Boisvert came in.

“We sanded the benches down, we had to weld a bit to add (material),” said Hennelly. Then they smoothed out the joints.

“They’re nice, I like them,” said Hennelly.

“We buffed them to make them look good,” said Boisvert, who was busy working on another project — a fire pit with a Maine theme the department will sell so help defray costs — metal fabrication can be expensive, Hartford, the instructor, pointed out.

The fire pit features pine tree designs, and, Boisvert noted, cut outs in the metal have been have figured in, to be used as a cooktop.

As to the benches, Joe Doiron, who works with SRTC on special projects, said the benches cost $2,100, and are paid through the William Oscar Emery Fund set up many years ago to provide funds for beautification projects. Had the benches been bought pre-made and shipped to Sanford, the price tag would have been $12,000, Doiron said.

Plus there was the added bonus of students working to create and finish pieces that they can see every time they drive by Gateway Park.

Gateway Park was built with funds from a federal grant. Extras, like benches and other features, more landscaping and an amphitheater and are being created over time. 

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]


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