The Mabel-Canton building trade’s class poses on one of the nine picnic tables they built for the city of Mabel and Mabel Historical Society. In front, from left, are Hunter Johnson, Collin O’Bieglo, Andy Sollien, Mac Nelson, Joe Wathier and Noah Manning.  In back are Chris Nordsving, Nick Drinkall, Lucas Nordsving, Dustin Kerns, Dalton Helgeson, Danny Lind, Mason Henry and Jordan Magnuson. Students not shown are Ethan Brink and Justin Ward.
The Mabel-Canton building trade’s class poses on one of the nine picnic tables they built for the city of Mabel and Mabel Historical Society. In front, from left, are Hunter Johnson, Collin O’Bieglo, Andy Sollien, Mac Nelson, Joe Wathier and Noah Manning. In back are Chris Nordsving, Nick Drinkall, Lucas Nordsving, Dustin Kerns, Dalton Helgeson, Danny Lind, Mason Henry and Jordan Magnuson. Students not shown are Ethan Brink and Justin Ward.
Mabel-Canton students in Paul Tollefsrud's furniture building/building trades class had the opportunity this fall to mix education with community service while building a total of nine picnic tables to replace those which were damaged or destroyed during flooding in June.

Tollefsrud said the project started when he was contacted by the city regarding the replacement of tables damaged in the spring floods.

"I was contacted by Karen Larson (city clerk)...I said it would be a great opportunity for my kids to go through the process of building them," he said.

Student Noah Manning agreed. "We thought it would be a good way to help out the community," he said with fellow student Danny Lind. "(We started) a week into the school year and finished about two weeks ago. This was pretty much the only project we had."

Mabel's public works director Robert Mierau said all of the materials were paid for by the city's insurance. The total cost for parts on each table were around $100.

Mierau added that before the city decided to ask the students and Tollefsrud to build the tables, they had done some cost comparisons regarding buying new tables from area businesses.

"If you want a good, quality table, it could be $600 to $1,000...and this (the shop class project) is a good opportunity for the kids," he said.

"We hit on design...assembling stuff, cutting stuff to the right length..." Tollefsrud said of the project. "It wasn't part of the curriculum at all - something we just threw in there."

The class built a total of nine picnic tables. Six of the tables are now in the possession of the city of Mabel. Tollefsrud said once they started working on tables for the city, the Mabel Historical Society asked the class to produce three more tables for their buildings. "I think once they found out we were doing some for the city, there are people on the city council who are part of the historical society (who) asked us if we would build three for them."

The cooperative project between the city and school is not over. Tollefsrud said the building trades class plans to start building a new concession stand for Steam Engine Park in the next couple months. Plans are still in the works to determine the size and structure of the stand, Mierau said.

Like the picnic tables, the city's insurance policy will cover the cost of the materials for the new concession stand.

"Just so we can get it done before next spring," Mierau said.