Students explore construction field at jail site

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Miron Construction Project Superintendent Mike Nell, right, leads local high school students with the Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District on a tour of the construction site for the new Delta County Correctional Facility Tuesday.

ESCANABA — High school students in the Construction Trades Program at the Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District (DSISD) had a chance to tour the construction site for the new Delta County Correctional Facility Tuesday. Tours of the site took place that morning and afternoon.

Senior Project Manager for Miron Construction Dave Barrow said the process of planning the tours started about two weeks ago.

“We got a call from … (Delta County Administrator) Ryan Bergman, asking if we would be willing to provide a tour to this group, and we (were) very excited to accommodate a tour of this nature,” he said. Miron is the construction manager for the Delta County Correctional Facility project.

DSISD Superintendent Doug Leisenring said the visit and others like it help the district’s students by providing them with real-world examples of work they could do after they graduate from high school.

“Our Career and Technical Education administrators work with our business community to find opportunities for our students to visit work sites,” he said.

Miron Project Superintendent Mike Nell, who led the tours, said Miron’s goal was to raise awareness of the construction industry among local students.

“I think it’s just to get the kids interested … in construction,” he said.

According to Nell, the tours successfully accomplished this goal.

“I think (they) went pretty good,” he said.

Nell took visiting students to several locations at the construction site for the new Delta County Correctional Facility. He explained what each location will eventually become and the work that will be done to complete the project.

“I tried to explain some of the processes,” he said.

DSISD students learned several valuable things about the construction industry during the tours, Barrow said. Much of the information was related to the need for safety on construction sites.

“Most importantly, you never want to send anybody home injured to their family,” he said. He also noted safety plays a crucial role in maintaining workers’ morale and the financial health of projects.

In addition, Barrow said students had a chance to see the wide variety of skills needed to finish a large-scale construction project during the tours.

“They got an opportunity to see several different disciplines (Tuesday),” he said. DSISD students saw carpenters, laborers, electricians, plumbers, and HVAC tradesmen at work.

Blaine Reinhart, a 12th-grade student with the DSISD, said he enjoyed going on a tour of the construction site for the new correctional facility.

“I liked it — I thought it was interesting,” he said. He also noted he felt more interested in potentially joining the trades after touring the site.

Jacqueline Tovar, a 10th-grade DSISD student, said she also liked having a chance to see an active construction site.

“I never really saw any work sites … so seeing everything being done really sparked my interest in construction,” she said.

Delta County Commissioner Gerard Tatrow, who was present for the tours and who worked as a construction manager between 1973 and 2009, said the construction industry can be an ideal choice for young people interested in entering the trades.

“It’s a great career, because you’re creating something with your hands that’ll last a long time … and you can be proud of the work you do,” he said.

Barrow said he was glad Miron was able to offer these tours.

“I think it was a good opportunity for the young people to see what we do, and hopefully it inspired some interest,” he said.