Hampton High students design landfill convenience station for Roan Mountain

John Thompson • Apr 2, 2019 at 10:13 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Instead of hiring an experienced architect to draw up plans for a new Roan Mountain Convenience Station for the Carter County Landfill, manager Benny Lyons took a different tack.

Lyons decided to enlist the skills and perceptions of some high school students. Students who, by the way, had won 43 state championships in state competition over the past three years.

Lyons went to the teacher of the Hampton architecture and engineering class, Daniel Arnett.

“Benny asked me if it was possible that the students could design a new center,” Arnett said.

Arnett got a team of able volunteers together that included: Macon Barden, James Ellison, Joe Huskins, Everett Lydick, Zack Oliver, Neyland Sluder, Bryan Spock, and Quentin Tomlin. They were all willing to help.

Arnett remembers it was at the start of this school year, during the first week of September.

“You know how hot September can be,” Arnett said. They got to Roan Mountain and looked at the layout of the facility. Then they got out the tape measures.

“They got into the muck and the mire and measured the entire place,” Arnett said. Then they measured all the angles. It was a hot and dirty job, but they handled it like professionals.

After they had cleaned up and called off, the eight students were back in the classroom, drawing up the dimensions and looking at the best way to accommodate traffic flow from the community and other important concerns.

Soon they had drawn up their plans and Arnett presented them to Lyons for his submission of a grant proposal.

The state did not appear to have a problem with the plans drawn by amateurs.

“Benny told me that the people in Nashville were surprised when he told them that the plans had been drawn by high school students.” The county landfill was awarded the grant, which will enable the complete rebuild of the facility, with better traffic flow.

Lyons briefed the Carter County Landfill and the Carter County Budget Committee on the plans during committee meetings on Monday night.

Unfortunately, the Hampton High students were not present to receive thanks for their work. They are currently at state Skills USA competition, trying to add to their list of state championships.

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