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Wood from existing Quincy Valley Medical Center site to become part of new hospital

Staff Writer | May 25, 2023 1:20 AM

QUINCY — A pair of trees that will come down as part of the construction of the new Quincy Valley Medical Center will be turned into a piece of furniture for the facility, with the help of students in the Quincy High School construction classes.

Hospital board members accepted a proposal from QHS construction class instructor Nick Heuker to use the wood from the trees to build a conference table.

“It’s going to be teacher-led but student-built,” Heuker said. “I’m there to make sure it gets done correctly, but the students will be doing the (majority) of the work. With my guidance they’ll work through the process, not just building it for you guys, but using it as a learning experience. It also gives them a sense of ownership. ‘Hey, I did this.’”

Board members approved paying about $6,400 to have the two trees removed and the raw logs cut into slabs. The slabs will be milled into usable boards, a process Heuker estimated would cost a maximum of about $2,000. He recommended approving any remaining expenses at a later date, and the board agreed.

“This will get you started,” said board member Anthony Gonzalez.

Heuker said Quincy School District officials did have a request as part of the project.

“The only thing that is really big for the district is commemoration for the students,” Heuker said. “Whether that is signatures from the kids on the bottom - for sure, a plaque is kind of required.”

Before becoming a teacher Heuker said he was a cabinetmaker, and it was his practice to add his name to the finished product.

“I sign it with my name, I give the date, and it gets finished and that signature never comes off,” he said. “Kind of like an artist signing his name on his work.”

The two fir trees were planted around the time the current hospital was built in 1957, but are in the way of the new building. About 16 feet of each log will be used, which should ensure, Heuker said, that there’s enough to build the table.

“The last thing we want to do is run out of material. I’ve done it. It’s terrible,” he said.

During the discussion board chair Randy Zolman pointed to an American flag in the corner of the current conference room.

“This flag in the corner? It’s a 48-star flag - it came with this hospital,” Zolman said. “We’d like a frame for it.”

Heuker said there should be sufficient wood left for a frame, and volunteered to build and donate it to the project, having built similar frames.

The conference table will be about four feet wide by five feet long, about 30 inches tall, he said. The idea is to have a custom project that looks custom.

“The whole goal is that it looks like it was done by professionals, but it was done by kids,” he said.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached at