The district’s need for a pole vault pit turned into a hands-on, learning experience for the South Sioux City High School’s construction classes. Students and their instructors worked with LiteForm Technologies to learn a different concrete pouring technique for the project.

“Normally when we teach anything to do with concrete or foundations we do a lot of bookwork, which we did this time too, but the nice part was that we were actually able to go out and pour concrete,” said Travis Volk, CTE instructor. “So, the students were able to truly see it and not just read it in a book or watch a video on it. They were able to get that experience of truly doing it themselves.”

Students from Volk’s carpentry and construction class and instructor Joe Krajicek’s intro and advance welding classes began the project at the end of September. Overall, the instructors average the time spent on the project to be a little over 5 hours. Representatives from LiteForm came to assist and educate the students on the benefits of their product.

“We used a little different technique than what I have ever taught before, and it was because LiteForm is innovative in their product and how they do things,” said Volk. “So we got to use some of their innovation and learned a whole different concept of doing it rather than the traditional concept of pouring concrete.”

The students utilized LiteForm’s Grey Flexx 25 and Helix concrete products. Traditionally, concrete construction would use rebar or mesh, but LiteForm’s products eliminates that process.

The Grey Flexx 25 is a rigid, flexible insulation sheet designed for use under concrete. According to LiteForm, the foam board helps preserve the concrete during aggressive climate changes.

“Here it can go from 110 degrees in the summer to -20 in the winter and the ground under the concrete is always moving with the freeze and thaw cycles, and that is really hard on concrete,” said Chris Stamm, sales representative of LiteForm Technologies. “So, by putting foam underneath of that concrete, the ground doesn’t experience that rapid expansion and contraction.”

The other product, Helix, is a steel fiber that looks similar to small steel pins. Helix is added to the concrete to increase the strength and also to reduce shrinkage and cracking of the concrete, which replaces the tradition technique of using rebar or reinforcing steel bars. According to LiteForm, the products speed up the construction process and reduce the amount of concrete that is needed for the project.

“I really enjoyed working with the students. They were all really open minded and a great group of kids to work with,” said Stamm. “It was really quite an aggressive project for that experience level of kids, but they did great with it. I think it is a great experience (for the students) because it gives them real-world experience. I mean there is only so much you can learn from a book with pouring concrete.”

“Overall the students did a great job,” said Volk. “I think they get really excited and they are motivated because they get to do something other than normal bookwork or small projects. They got to do something that was large-scale, and for the next 30 years or so, they will be able to tell their kids and family members that it was a project that they got to do for the school.”



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