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Gazebo Project Ends with Cupola Lift

Randall Hancock, FSDB Building and Construction Technologies teacher, gives directions to students.

On May 3, 2018, the gazebo construction project undertaken by the FSDB Building a Tradesman (BAT) program reached completion. In a historic ceremony well-attended by students and staff members, a crane from the campus Facilities Department lifted the cupola aloft and crowned the pavilion with it.

The long-anticipated gazebo project was delayed twice by Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, two years in a row. It was with visible pride and relief that project coordinator and FSDB Deaf High School Building and Construction Technologies Teacher Randall Hancock delivered closing remarks. True to form, Hancock spoke mostly of his students, praising their teamwork and diligence in their work efforts and wearing the required safety equipment. Fourteen young tradesmen were involved in this ongoing project. Kudos to Hancock and his trusty crew for beautifying the FSDB campus even further!

What the Students Say

Deaf High School students shared with Hancock their perceptions of the event.

“I don’t have all these tools back home, this experience gave me the chance to use power tools, overcoming fear to operate them, and I feel confident now.” - Levi Starling

"I really enjoyed the construction and learned about safety.” – Kyle Chambers

“It was a beautiful thing.”– Garrett Hunt

“When the cupola was raised by the forklift, it gave me goosebumps. It marked the highlight of our hard work.” – Nigel Chavarria Flores
“I found this experience to be remarkable, and the perch of the cupola to the top of the roof of the gazebo marked a cumulative effort, we have accomplished a lot!” – Michael Moore

“The building was very interesting, I learned construction from this hands-on training.” – Nick Fuller

“It began with errors but we were able to overcome them and achieve the cupola atop. We are happy with it.” – Darren Meehan

“I enjoyed the whole experience, sometimes it was tough, like figuring out the angle measurements, but as time went on with the training and OSHA lectures, it became easier.” – Brandon Rounds

“It took one year to build the gazebo and throughout I have learned a lot of things; there have been slow times and frustrations but time went by fast as we advanced.” – Cooper Garvey

“The teachers have taught us a lot about math especially fractional measurements, understanding use of the tape measure, and the application of geometry. Mistakes have been made but we became stronger as a result. It was a good feeling of accomplishment.” – Alex Aldridge

On May 16, 2018, the BAT Gazebo Construction Project culminated with an official ceremony to unveil the finished work. Instead of the traditional ribbon cutting, FSDB Director of Facilities Joe Bruce was given the honor of cutting a two-by-four wooden board with a saw. The completed gazebo with hanging floral baskets is now a beautiful addition to the central FSDB campus.

By Christi Boortz, Instructional Services

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About FSDB

The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is a tuition-free state public school and outreach center available to eligible Pre-K and K-12 students who are deaf/hard of hearing or blind/visually impaired. At FSDB, students learn how to do more, be more, and achieve more, fulfilling our vision of preparing them for a lifetime of success. FSDB gratefully accepts private donations to support vital programs that directly benefit students and are not paid by state general revenue funds. For a campus tour or to inquire about eligibility for enrollment, contact FSDB Parent Services at 904-827-2212 voice or 904-201-4527 videophone. For more information, visit


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