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School's log shelter project hits funding blockade

These immense white pine logs were delivered to the former Ford auto dealership building last winter, where Perham students worked on the logs for a proposed U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service structure.

An ambitious log-building collaboration between Perham students and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been shelved, due to lack of funds.

The plan for Perham's YouthBuild program to construct a log shelter for the Hamden Sough Wildlife Management Area had been in the works for almost a year.

Immense white pine logs valued at thousands of dollars were shipped in February to the vacant Ford dealership. With the large, empty auto service area in the building, it was about the only space in town large enough to accommodate the huge logs. The school made arrangements to utilize the space for the project.

Students began some of the log-fitting work on-site. When shop work was completed, the preconfigured logs would then be shipped to Hamden Slough for assembly at the final destination.

Labor was to be provided by YouthBuild, which includes vocational and alternative learning center students. Donations from various manufacturers were solicited-but the total was still $35,000 short of the sum needed to proceed, according to ALC director Fred Sailer, in his report to the Perham School Board.

"We haven't totally dropped the concept and the USFW service will attempt to generate the difference for next year," state Sailer, in his written report to the board

The logs will be sold back to the private contractor, Jon Bachmann, who will use them for a house project he is working on this summer. Bachmann specializes in log construction, and he was serving as a consultant and teacher for the YouthBuild project.

"From an education standpoint our students learned about various sawmill techniques and the angles required for support beams," stated Sailer. The students will continue to be involved with Bachman's house project, which will continue the education process-and prepare returning students if the USFWS project becomes a reality next year.