A much-beloved fixture on the Cozy Corner playground has been given a makeover thanks to the hard work of students in Olney Central College’s Welding Program.
The “bouncy car,” has been a longtime favorite among the youngsters attending OCC’s childcare program, but Director Bev Mathews said years of use and exposure to the elements had taken a toll on the equipment.
Over a three-week period, the welding students refurbished the vehicle to resemble a Tonka Truck.
“It definitely needed some work,” said Welding Instructor Curtis Marshall. “We replaced some of the tubing that was cracked. We also dropped the roof down to give it a better appearance. We wanted to make it look as much like a real truck as we could.”
The students also installed additional benches to create more seating for the children and even added tires. Other enhancements included a new steering wheel and a dashboard, which features working levers, gadgets, switches and buttons. A coat of bright yellow paint completed the bodywork.
In addition to helping Cozy Corner, the project gave welding students an opportunity to improve their skills.
“It gave the students a chance to work on cutting and fabrication while providing them with real world experiences,” Marshall said. “When you’re working in a shop, you will have people bring in old items that will need structure members taken out and replaced. For the dash panel, the students had to do layout and precise measuring. They also had to drill holes for the switches. The project gave them practice using their imaginations to visualize an image in their heads and see it come to fruition.”
In the spring, the students will put the finishing touches on the truck by installing a motor they received from the Automotive Program. The piston heads have already been removed from the engine, which will be encased in plexiglass. A handle will be attached to the motor and when the children turn it, they will be able to see the engine parts move.
“It will give them experience with motors and how they work,” Marshall said. “We really hope the kids enjoy playing on the truck. We wanted to make something they would enjoy.”
According to Mathews, Marshall and his students have succeeded.
“The kids really love the changes,” Mathews said. “It is something all the kids can play with and that is what the teachers like most about it.”
The refurbished truck is the latest improvement to the playground area. Projects last summer included the installation of new equipment and the construction of a new sidewalk linking Wattleworth Hall to the playground.