ULEAF All Grown Up!

Week 9 of ULEAF design-build was full of ups and downs, excitement, and exhaustion. It was the week that the entirety of the ULEAF design came to life, which was extremely rewarding for all of the students. The main goal established in the beginning of the summer was to build a stage that was both functional and beautiful. Week 9 was crunch time for making this goal a reality.

The trailer left for one more trip to Hoss Haley’s welding shop on Monday morning to attach the steel canopy structure to the trailer. Thanks again to Hoss and his team of welders for making the completion of the ULEAF possible! So, with the steel canopy up and only days until the unveiling it was time for the DBS team to start the major carpentry phase.

DesignBuild students divided into two teams, working in shifts, in order to maximize the time we had left and safety around the stage while under construction. One team focused on putting up the wooden canopy arches and Suntuf roof cover and while the other team worked on installing the floor joists and plywood to create the stage floor structure. With such a big team of students this year, team leader’s decision for the teams to work in shifts throughout the week kept everyone safe and well-rested…relatively well-rested, anyway.


By the end of the day Monday, the team was ahead of schedule with the trailer floor joists in tact and two wooden canopy arches up. On Tuesday, the canopy structure really came to life as the roof team worked from sun up until sun down. All the arches were in place and the purlins got installed right before it got dark. With the roof almost complete, the floor team had more space and time on Wednesday to really focus their efforts on getting all the wing joists installed and the plywood for the center of the stage in place.

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Thursday and Friday saw the stage coming to life before our eyes.  The excitement steadily built as the DBS team shifted into detail and completion mode upon completing the ‘big’ construction and assembly tasks.  Details included installing aluminum trim, CNC’d rim boards with student’s and sponsor’s names, re-attaching brake lights, painting touch-up, etc. On Friday afternoon, Leigh and LEAF staffers came to pick up the stage and deliver it to downtown Asheville for Saturday’s inaugural LEAF Downtown AVL.

Finally, Saturday arrived and everyone on the team was very excited about seeing the stage in action and hearing the public’s response.  Members of the team arrived early on site to deploy the stage for the first time and then we anxiously awaited the ribbon cutting ceremony.   At 11:45am Ehren, from LEAF Shools and Streets, introduced us and Miriam briefly spoke about the project. We all joined in to cut the ribbon and the first band began to play.  The rest, as they say, is history…

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On behalf of Caitlin, Chad, and the whole DBS team, we wish to thank all of the individuals and businesses that have supported us throughout.  This has been an amazing summer and we’re extremely proud to have had the opportunity to play a part.

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