November 29, 2021

Homer students use computer aided design to improve dugouts

Bringing school work to life

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Senior Andrew Fagerheim shows his dugout designs at Homer Central High School on Tuesday.

Senior Mattie Riter struggled with designing the arcs and circles — she had never undertaken an engineering project before. But the outcome is something students will see for years: baseball dugouts at Homer Central High School.

Riter and other students from the computer-aided design classes spent the past few months designing improvements to the dugouts as part of the course that will see the construction in cooperation with the junior high school.

Todd Lisi, the athletic director and assistant principal for Homer Central High School, brought the idea to technology and engineering teachers Michael DiMattei and Heidi Chamberlain after Lisi was inspired by junior high school technology teacher Aaron Gross, who works with wood cutting students.

The students, who have been learning how to use AutoCAD designing software, first measured the field and dugouts in October before creating blueprints, 3D designs and miniature models, DiMattei said.

The class is part of the the school’s engineering program, where students can earn college credits, Chamberlain said.

“Having an experience that isn’t just confined to the classroom, but will be implemented in real life and something that will be here long after we graduate and is a really incredible experience for us,” senior Andrew Fagerheim said.

“I’ve only used (Autodesk) Inventor” — another computer designing program — “so it was fun to learn the benefits and drawbacks of something different,” Fagerheim said.

Fagerheim’s design had two tiers of benches with cubby holes under each tier for helmets.

“Right now, bats are leaned against the fence and helmets are thrown on the ground so this is a good way to work on it.” DiMattei said.

Most of the improvements were related to helmets, benches and bat holders, DiMattei said.

“The project is to keep (the dugouts) neater, a little bit more organized and to have something when other schools come here, they think, ‘this is a really cool thing,’” Chamberlain said.

The designs will be brought to athletic boosters and the school board to vote on in the upcoming months, DiMattei said.

Once one is chosen, students from Homer’s Junior High School will cut the wood for the improvements before the CAD students build it, Lisi said.

“In the beginning, it was a little bit of a stuggle because it was very new to me,” Riter said. “I had no idea what I was doing at all but Ms. Chamberlain has helped me and it’s getting easier as we go on.”

The arcs and circles were a challenger for Riter, but math is one of her strong subjects and she could do conversions for the designs easily.

“It’s really cool that us students are able to design something that will be useful to future generations,” Riter said. “Looking back, you can show your kids and your future family and say, ‘Oh, I did that for our community.’”

The teachers and Lisi don’t have details of when the chosen design will be built or how much it will cost, though Lisi said funding will come from the school district.

He also proposed adding a plaque with all of the students’ names who helped with the improvements.

“When our student and players walk past our dugout, that dugout is the first thing you see when you come down the stadium steps,” he said. “So anything we have or offer our students should bring a sense of pride.”