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Students replace Chassell Township bridge

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Chassell High School students build a bridge on the Chassell Township Trails Wednesday. In front are Tristan Heikkila, Braden Hupp, Daniel Holley and Bill Rautiola. In back are Patrick Hahn, Dean Pietila and teacher Michael Randell.

CHASSELL TOWNSHIP — Thirty years of walkers, runners and skiers took their toll on a bridge on the Chassell Township Trails.

Chassell High School students were out this week building a bridge for the next 30.

The bridge is 10-feet by 30-feet, slightly wider than its predecessor, said shop teacher Michael Randell. The stronger bridge will also be able to bear the weight of the township’s groomer.

“The old one, they didn’t dare put any equipment over it any longer,” he said.

Students began construction on the third day of school, first pulling out the old bridge with the help of Jim Tervo, who spearheaded the trail project. The upper part of the trails runs through his property.

Garrett/Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Chassell High School student Daniel Holley hammers a support piece into place at a bridge on Chassell Township’s trails network Wednesday.

Wednesday, the students focused on bridging to strengthen the ends and started adding decking.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to get into real life and see what working as a whole team is all about and getting experience in doing real-world things rather than sitting in a classroom,” said student Patrick Hahn. “I think it’s really cool that we’re donating time to help the community with this bridge and get ‘er done for everyone else.”

Not only is it good work experience for the students, it benefits them as Chassell residents, he said. Some shop students have also been on the high school’s cross-country team, which uses the trails.

“This is a cool project,” Randell said. “I’ve never had one like this, and I’m really excited about it. The students have responded well.”

Previous projects have included a ramp for the home of a veteran who was coming home from hospice care, as well as pole barns, benches and saunas.

“We try to do something to benefit the community,” Randell said.

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