Masonry students help with Baptist church prayer walk

Published 10:26 am Thursday, December 1, 2016

Matt McKnight and his second semester students of his masonry class agreed to a challenge they had never done before.

A vacant lot beside First Baptist Church in Cooleemee was cleared to provide use of a prayer garden.  Bricks from the Erwin Mills demolition project were donated to create a much needed walkway and be handicap accessible.   

Once the concrete screening was applied for the foundation, a pattern had to be chosen for the project.

A linear pattern would have created continual lines all the way through, while this would have made the work a bit easier, the decision was made to chose the most difficult.

Not purposefully I might add, but the pattern worked with the six holes that were in each brick, some had nine, because the random pattern changed the direction of the holes consistently and looked more solid.

The curves were the most challenging because more space was created in those sections and learning how to continue the pattern while filling in with half or three quarter brick was difficult.  Learning how to break off the ends of the brick was easier for some than others.     

But it didn’t take long for them to get the hang of it because there were a lot of curves.

When you get a group of guys that stay focused and work as a team, it’s amazing how fast a project like this can go in two and a half hours each day.  When asked if they learned something they had never done before many chimed in and said, “the whole thing.”

Small teams were created to sweep the dust into the holes, some filled the wheel barrels with dust and carried to areas needed and learned how to dump the dust at intervals so one big pile wouldn’t fall out at once.   

The guys agreed Tristan Merritt was a leader in a lot of the problem solving and instructor Matt McKnight stated not only was it a big project but it was a “monster.”

“It was a good project for them to do, a good learning experience.  It’s a project they can say they accomplished something and got something out of.”

The prayer garden was created in memory of Patricia ‘Trish’ Chandler who was a resident of Cooleemee.