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Published 10/6/2005

Owens Faculty and Students Lead Sculpture Project To Assist North Star BlueScope Steel LLC

The blue heron sculpture was created from steel donated by North Star BlueScope Steel LLC. When Charles Stewart and the late Don Leonhardt, Owens Community College Manufacturing Technologies faculty members, heard that steel donor North Star BlueScope Steel LLC was embarking on a more than $3 million community beautification project surrounding their facilities in Delta, they asked what they could do to help.

Since raising the question, both the Owens faculty and welding program students set out to come up with their very own beautification project for North Star and decided upon the creation of a blue heron sculpture to present as a company gift. The sculpture is expected to be placed within North Star's complex and serve as a focal point at the facility entrance.

According to Stewart, an Ottawa Lake, Mich., resident, North Star BlueScope Steel LLC donates as much $140,000 in steel to Owens each year, assisting in the certification of more than 400 welding students annually.

"The steel that North Star donates every year is instrumental to the Manufacturing Technologies program here at Owens," stated Stewart, an Owens assistant professor of Manufacturing Technologies. "Participating in this project is a great way to say thank you for all they do for us. This project represents a wonderful relationship between education and industry."

Plans for North Star's beautification project call for natural low-maintenance prairie grasses, mounds, trees, shrubbery, fountains and a five-acre pond to improve the facility's visual quality. Placed near the pond will be the sculptures of the three large blue herons that were envisioned, welded and constructed by Stewart, Bob Williams of Manitou Beach, Mich., Owens associate professor of Manufacturing Technologies, and 12 students.

The sculptures, which feature three 175 lbs. birds with 12-foot wingspans made from donated North Star steel, is said to reflect one bird in a landing sequence. Stewart, along with Williams and the Owens students, dedicated more than 20 hours a week for over six months to complete the sculptures.

Owens' Charles Stewart looks over the welding work on the blue heron sculpture. According to North Star BlueScope Steel LLC metallurgist Brendan Brophy, North Star is delighted to welcome the sculptures to its facilities in Delta.

"We have always had a great relationship with Owens Community College," Brophy stated. "The creation of this sculpture is just a very nice thing for Owens to do. It ties in really well because the birds were made by the students that we donate our steel to each year. We are very enthusiastic about it."

The first phase of the three-phase project is currently underway. The project is scheduled to take approximately eight months. Once erected, the blue heron sculptures will be visible from County Road 9, as well as Route 2 in Delta.

North Star BlueScope Steel is a 50-50 joint venture between BlueScope Steel (Melbourne, Australia) and Cargill Inc. (Minneapolis). The partnership brings together expertise in electric furnace steel making, slab casting and hot rolling technology in synchronous flat rolled mini-mill. The steel mill is designed with a unique combination of proven technology to provide customers a superior hot rolled product. North Star BlueScope LLC is dedicated to achieving excellence in safety, quality, on time delivery performance and customer satisfaction.

The College's Manufacturing Technologies offers students the opportunity to pursue either an associate degree or several certificates in welding and prepares students to enter the world of technical work. The academic program areas are designed to train students within all aspects of welding, including stick, gas, MIG and TIG welding.

Owens Community College is one of the fastest-growing higher educational institutions in Ohio. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 45,000 credit and non-credit students, making it the number one choice for new college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, and Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.


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