It’s a final project one class at Fort Hays State University isn’t likely to forget anytime soon. A site preparation and foundation class within the Department of Applied Technology has spent the past four months helping to construct a covered pavilion for public use in downtown Hays.

Many of the students involved are pursuing construction management degrees and interested in technical careers, including Jacob Gulledge, a freshman from Valley Center.

Gulledge said the class has taught students organizational skills and “how to work as a team and get things done.”

The class typically helps build a garage that is offered for sale, but Dylan Jacobs, a junior from Hutchinson, said it was a nice change to help work on a project they will be able to come back and use.

“It was cool to work on something for the public,” Jacobs said.

“We can bring our kids here one day,” Gulledge agreed.

The project is funded by Downtown Hays Development Corp., which received contributions from private donors. The public/private partnership would not be possible without support from FHSU and Commercial Builders, which also is providing construction services, as well as the City of Hays, said Sara Bloom, executive director of DHDC.

It’s hoped the project will be completed this spring. DHDC is relying on the student partnership to help keep costs down, which is a benefit, she said. That also means the project is moving a bit slower, since the students only work during class time.

“This really is all about the partnerships and working together to make this happen,” Bloom said.

Once it’s finished, the pavilion will be given to the City of Hays and available for public use. Though appointments aren’t necessary, it can be reserved for private events by contacting the city parks office, similar to other shelter houses in city parks.

A public bathroom facility was constructed near the pavilion this summer and will remain open year-round.

FHSU instructor Kris Munsch said he is pleased with the student’s progress and the overall quality of the structure so far.

“It’s such good work,” he said. “There’s just a lot of pride in their work.”

FHSU classes ended for the semester last week. A second group of students will finish the project in the spring. The transition is bittersweet, Gulledge said.

“This is my passion, so I’m kind of sad that this class is over before we could get it finished,” he said.