These signs, some 130 street signs, will replace old signs and missing signs throughout the City of South Bend. They will serve as temporary signs as the city will put up required DOT street signs over the next few years.
"Dennis Houk, the South Bend City Supervisor contacted me and said he had a few signs to make and was wondering if I could help him with that," said Ryan McMurry, the Construction and Trade class teacher at South Bend. "When he sent the list, is was about 130 names for signs."
The project ran from September of last year to February this year taking time in-between school projects and any spare time the teacher and 40 students involved could manage.
The school was approached back in 2010 after the Indians took the 2B State Football Championship to help create a sign to commemorate the win.
"I told them how long the project would take and was questioned about the type of equipment that we had available at the school. Understanding that we had limited equipment for that type of a request, Steve Rogers took the matter in hand and before long we had a new Computer Numerical Control or CNC machine ready for pickup."
Students can now use the latest CAD (Computer Aided Design) software, make up a design and have the machine cut out a very specific and clean routed sign. Before it was all done by hand and was not as precise and clean as a professional would create, but now the students can create almost anything and have a very professional product that they can be proud of and share with the community.
The shop creates many things for the school, like name plaques, room signs and senior projects for graduation. The school shop has also been involved in other community projects like working on the latest Habitat for Humanity House in the city and putting a roof over the 1890 Steam Donkey most recently.
"During the street sign project students had to make sure that the letters would fit to pieces of wood that would fit in the machine, that means they had to look at different font types to get the best use of the desired piece of wood. They would transfer that street name to the CNC machine, center each piece of wood on that machine and then let it run, but that is only just the start," said McMurry.
Next the signs had to be sanded, and painted and checked for any imperfections which would need to be repaired.
"We are very honored that the city thought of us to make the signs for them. With the city tight on revenue this will help them replace some of the signs for bus drivers and tourists," said McMurry.
"We do not have the money to replace all the signs all at one time," said City Supervisor Houk. "With these signs the city will be able to put up proper DOT required signage over a longer period of time and help those that need a little extra direction navigate the city."