US Class Builds New Covid-Compliant Seating Area

By Avery Broom 

Oak Hall Upper School art teacher Robert Ponzio’s Engineering and Design class has been on a mission to create more outside space for students that is in compliance with Covid-19 policies. On Oct. 14, the students revealed their creations: handmade tables and chairs that can withstand Gainesville’s weather. The students came up with the idea through the Engineering Process. The Engineering Process is identifying a problem, brainstorming ideas, building a prototype, then communicating solutions and building the final project. After Oak Hall’s administration approved the design and funding, the students started working. The project took a little more than three weeks to build, and is located between the gym and Upper School, near the sidewalk. 

Ponzio says the students were all hands-on as they sawed, drilled, sanded, stained the wood, etc. The seating should sit 10 students comfortably, while also keeping them six feet apart per CDC and Oak Hall guidelines. Teachers will hopefully use this space as an outdoor classroom too, not just a lunch area. 

Oak Hall junior Madeline Nelson, a student in Ponzio’s class, states that her favorite part of the class is seeing their ideas being built into a successful product. She looks forward to the next project which is building bridges made out of balsa wood. Nelson took this class because she enjoys the concept of engineering and designing and hopes to pursue this interest one day.