TA News

Timber Framing Course Helps TA’s Garden Grow with New Compost Facility

Each year, Thetford Academy’s Timber Framing course takes on a new design build challenge. Since the course launched in 2014, the class has designed and constructed four timber-framed dugouts for TA’s baseball and softball fields, a picnic pavilion on the upper soccer field, and in a ambitious two-year project – the new Timber Frame Outdoor Classroom.

The Spring 2022 Timber Framing students have teamed up with the new school garden program to build a compost facility that would both serve the garden’s needs and divert waste from the school’s Cafe. In the planning stages, Ehrin Lingeman, TA’s school garden coordinator, worked with students to introduce basic composting concepts and share different models and scales to consider for the project. They discussed different ways of calculating the estimated volume of food waste students might produce and ideas for controlling variables like moisture, heat, sun exposure, and wildlife.

The Timber Frame class (led by Design Technology teacher Chris Schmidt), took it from there. Using Google Sketchup, a CAD (computer aided design) program, Mr. Schmidt’s students worked in groups to flesh out their ideas. Each group built a scale model of their design and wrote a pitch presentation that they shared with their client (Ehrin). The students’ three designs represented unique approaches to the same problem and all were viable options that could meet the school’s needs. In the end, due to time constraints and material costs, the class made the decision to move forward on the simplest design.

The timbers arrived in the shop last week and the hard work of building has begun. The class is working hard to finish the components and put it all together by the end of the semester so that by graduation, TA will have a student-designed and built, three-bin hot composting system installed on the land adjacent to the school garden – reducing waste, feeding the soil, and providing year-round learning opportunities for the school community.



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