Chico State Students Restore Alcatraz

Jun 23, 2011 7:35 PM

"This will be something they'll never forget, it is very special and very unique," Concrete Industry Management Director Tanya Komas says.

Eight members of the Chico State Concrete Industry Management program are on a historical mission this summer, to repair, restore, and preserve structures on Alcatraz Island. Student Brian Peart says, "All the volunteers and the tourists that come to the island are so excited that we're there to do this work because we're contributing to the island.."

The 10 week, 400 hour summer internship, offers an educational experience, where students not only work hands-on, but also have a management role throughout the summer.. Everything from safety to public relations. On top of that, they have to follow strict historic preservation guidelines, communicate with biologists about not disturbing the island's wildlife, and work without fresh water or electricity on the island.

"The responsibility is tremendous. It's not just doing repair work. They have to manage it, think it through, come up with good solutions," Komas says. Like using a 3D laser scanner to find the correct color and texture of places being restored. And after last year's pilot program was successful, the National Park Service agreed to a five year commitment, donating $35,000 a year to keep the restoration project going.

Komas says, "People who visit the island pay a fee to get out there on a boat.. Part of that money supports this program.. So the money people pay goes right back into the island and into educating those students." The experience paid off for three of the five students involved last year. They were hired by a global contracting firm. This year's students say they know they've been given an incredible opportunity. "I'm thankful that I was selected to do this and if I have the opportunity to do it again next summer, I'm going to have to jump on that one too," Peart says.


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