College students fix ice oval truck

With a tight budget and a leaky water truck it was time for a local non-profit to reach out to the community for a bit of help.

Dick Voneugen volunteer member of the Ice Oval Society of Prince George heard the College of New Caledonia has a program for mechanics that might take on the project.

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He reached out to Randy Kempster, instructor for CNC's school of trades and technology, heavy mechanical.

The foundations program is nine months long and offers students knowledge of the basics about engines, transmissions, hydraulics, safety and tools.

"We take in customer's units and fix them," Kempster said. "They may be in there for a day, they may be in there for 10 months."

A 10-month project would see students working on a complete engine, transmission overhaul, Kempster gave as an example. The college offers the labour for free and the customer pays for the parts.

"So for the ice oval water truck we fixed some hydraulic leaks, there had been a fire underneath it so we fixed a bunch of burned wiring, burned hydraulic hoses, resealed the main lift cylinder, resealed the plow cylinder, and replaced the main dump truck box cylinder," Kempster said.

It was a big job, Voneugen said.

"These guys jumped in and over the summer fixed the whole truck up," Voneugen said. "There's no more leaks and it's back at the shop."

Working to help organizations in Prince George is important to the college students.

"It's kind of nice to be able to give back to the community," Alex Paulson, first year CNC student, said. He'll focus on being a mechanic for heavy equipment during his career. "I love the course. There's a lot of hands-on experience as well as the classroom teaching."

Working on the water truck offered opportunities to the students who didn't even know where the ice oval was located in Prince George.

"It's really good experience," Logan Verveek, first year CNC student, said, who knew he wanted to be a heavy duty mechanic since he was a child.

It's heavy equipment he will focus on during his career, like fixing bull dozers, excavators and back hoes in a mine, for example.

Both Verveek and Paulson agreed they really liked the idea of working on a diverse selection of vehicles and fixing the working parts of the water truck was a great learning experience for both of them.

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