ARLINGTON – Whenever Hunter Urionaguena passes by Arlington Hardware and Lumber store from now on where his uncle’s memorial bench sits out front, he’ll have a visual reminder nearby of his own hometown legacy: an artistic metal bike rack he designed himself.
“It’s like a yearbook that’s actually going to last,” said Hunter, a welding and manufacturing student who just graduated from Arlington High School.
His was one of 12 bike racks installed around downtown by city workers Wednesday, a project involving 22 students in CTE teacher Collin Nelson’s Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing class.
Students, parents, relatives and school district staff gathered at City Hall to watch the first racks go up. Some seniors were seeing their racks for the first time since they hadn’t been finished until a couple days after graduation, Nelson said.
The pieces are called “shadow” bike racks because they cast a shadow on the ground of the shape cut into the metal, including ducks in flight, dragonflies, butterflies, cows, a tractor and the Arlington Fly-In logo.
The students used computer-aided design software to capture their ideas.
Hunter’s bike rack depicts the backside of a logging truck carrying a full load, a tribute to an industry that is central to both sides of his family, and one that he works for full-time with Pacific Logging Co.
While he said it’s “pretty cool” how the end product turned out, he added, “It made me mad trying to figure out how to use the CAD program. I couldn’t exactly figure out how to do what I wanted it to do.”
He eventually worked it out, said his mom, Lynn, and through his exceptional welding skills and hands-on know how, he produced a bike rack that she loved.
“Welding is his thing; logging is his life,” she said.
The bike rack designed by Ian Seward, showing two ducks in flight, means a lot to him not just from childhood memories of feeding bread to the mallards with his parents at Gleneagle pond, but also for the new memories of completing the project with classmates.
“It’s great to know that the bike rack will be there twenty years later,” he said. “It’s like something I can look back on. When I return here, and eventually I will, I’ll be able to say I remember that high school class.”
Ian was one of a handful of students who scored high at the state SkillsUSA competition, then moved to nationals in Louisville, Kentucky last month. It was a showcase of the brightest college and high school CTE students from around the country, and a golden networking opportunity to meet with major manufacturers and recruiters, Ian said.
The bike rack project originated with Mayor Barb Tolbert last fall. She sought decorative and functional bike racks for locations downtown in front of businesses mostly along Olympic Avenue that wouldn’t interfere with walkers. Nelson’s students approached the project as if they were pitching their concepts to contract with the city for services.
Going forward, Nelson’s equipment at the high school was unable to cut the bike rack designs, so workers at Universal Aerospace in Arlington helped out using their own precision manufacturing equipment that creates aerospace parts.
Each bike rack also includes a metal plate identifying the student designer by name, an “AHS Eagles” graphic and the Universal Aerospace logo.
Universal’s generosity knows no bounds.
On Monday, the school board approved a donation from the company of quality scrap metal valued at $6,500 for high school’s manufacturing program. The metal includes aluminum and stainless steel that the high school’s new TIG (Tungsten inert gas) welders can use, enabling students to become more proficient in working with those materials.
Nelson said the school district bought into the project last fall once officials realized that these were going to be permanent fixtures downtown. “The bike racks were going to get made and were going to stay there. They weren’t going to get taken down or thrown in the trash.”