As a service-learning project, students in Professor Robert Bush’s Senior Seminar in Forest Products Marketing and Management built an outdoor “theater” for the Blacksburg New School, a cooperative private school offering grades K through 8. The students used their design skills, knowledge of wood and wood construction, and project management expertise to plan and complete the structure, which was approved and inspected by the Town of Blacksburg during and after construction. In the structure’s debut, the New School’s middle school students performed “Julius Caesar” as part of their study of the works of Shakespeare.

Instrumental in the project was Jeremy Withers, now a sustainable biomaterials graduate student, who had attended the New School as a child and whose son will enter the school’s kindergarten this fall. “The best part for me was enjoying the New School students’ excitement and hearing how they planned to utilize the structure when it was completed,” Withers said. “As a team, we provided an avenue for creativity, learning, and collaboration.”