The rebuilding of the bridge over Catfish Cove on Lundquest Lagoon began as so many ideas do - with two friends sitting by the lake chatting.
Mike Neden, associate professor of technology and workforce learning, was talking with his friend and mentor, Max Lundquest, by the pond on the Lundquest property when Neden mentioned it looked like the bridge had seen better days.
"We were out here talking and I said, 'It's about time we got you a new bridge,'" Neden said.
"Lundquest Bridge is falling down," Lundquest quipped in agreement.
Neden offered that if Lundquest would buy the materials he would get a group of Pittsburg State University students to work on the project, and Lundquest agreed.
"I had no idea it was going to be this nice and this complicated," Lundquest said, as he watched the construction Tuesday morning. "They're doing great."
"We've been working on it throughout the semester," Neden said. "Since we've been able to get out here for a full day yesterday and today, we've gotten a lot done."
Neden said he and Lundquest met while teaching at Pittsburg Community Middle School a number of years ago and taught together for 13 or 14 years. Lundquest has since retired and Neden now works at PSU, but the two have remained friends throughout the years, and Neden periodically brings students out to Lundquest's pond for class projects, including boat races.
"I think it's great," Lundquest said about the current project and opportunities for his property to be used. "Mike and I have visited about these types of things."
"This is part of my construction class - the 370 construction class," Neden said. "Some of them will be teaching construction."
"Part of their standards are for them to introduce kids to construction," Neden added, noting that application opportunities help.
Additionally, it was enjoyable.
Page 2 of 3 - "It's a fun project - it gets them outside," he said.
Neden said work has been conducted in the classroom throughout the semester,with some visits to the property.
"We've been out here probably the last half of the semester most days," Neden said.
The project also gave the students a feel for the impact of weather on construction, with nice days intermingled with snow and sleet, and a pond that went from low water to full.
"When we started this, the water was down about three feet," Neden said.
The real work began this week as students used the old bridge to help with some of the initial steps on the new bridge, then tore out the old one.
"Today, we're going to set the posts for railing and set the corner posts," Neden said, adding that it was his hope to complete the decking by the end of the day.
Three students, Byron McKay, Andy Brennon and Joe Bower, worked Tuesday morning, and were part of a large group of students involved with the overall project.
"It's a learning experience, definitely," Brennon said. "I learned a lot this semester, and I am looking forward to getting it done."
McKay said it feels great to be able to do something for someone who has shared hospitality with the class.
"Mr. Lundquest has given us a lot of advice," McKay said.
He said the experience is valuable as well.
"Working is always good," McKay said. "The experience is good either way."
"I've enjoyed it a lot," Brennon said. "It's just something totally new."
He also said it was great to be able to do something for Lundquest.
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"I know what he has done for the students and for us, and it feels good to give back to him," Brennon said.
Lundquest said he looks forward to continuing to share the area with students.
"We hope now they can bring classes out like the boat races and other activities," he said. "We're hoping to make use of the pond for Mr. Neden's classes."
Lundquest added that the bridge project is encouraging him to take on additional projects around the pond, which has been rebuilt and is periodically stocked with catfish and koi.
"I've got the island now to redo," he said. "It's just a thing for us."
"We try to make it a nice atmosphere," Lundquest added.