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Batter up: Key revamps baseball bleachers

Grangeville High School’s Kolten Key spent 160 hours redoing the baseball bleachers for his senior project.

Photo by Lorie Palmer
Grangeville High School’s Kolten Key spent 160 hours redoing the baseball bleachers for his senior project.

— Kolten Key’s senior project may have turned out to be a little bigger one than he first imagined.

“It definitely took a lot of time – about 160 hours in all,” he acknowledged. The project, a mandatory activity for graduation, requires at least 20 hours.

Key took on revamping the GHS baseball bleachers. This included removing all the rotten boards and hardware from the two bleacher stands, painting the frame, staining and painting the boards and replacing everything.

“It has all new boards and all new bolts,” Key said.

Thanks to the generosity of Idaho Forest Group’s Brett Madron out of Lewiston, Key said all the wood for the project was donated.

With GHS maintenance supervisor Cory Thesan as his mentor, Key also received donations of paint from Grangeville Builders Supply. The school paid for the bolts and other hardware.

After the removal of all the old boards – some rotted through – he measured and cut everything. Then Key rolled up his sleeves and began putting in the hours. His family helped him stain and paint in his grandpa’s shop.

“I could not have done this without help from my family,” Key said.

Once the boards for the benches and platform were stained and painted, and the frame was painted, Key and his grandpa, Mike Key, installed all the new slats for the bleachers and platform, which included drilling all the bolt holes on the scene.

“We didn’t pre-drill as we wanted to make sure everything fit correctly,” he said.

Key has played baseball at GHS for going on three years now, and he saw the bleachers needed redone.

“They were bad,” he said. “We don’t get to have home games here very often because of the weather and field conditions, but this is used a lot in the summer for Babe Ruth,” he said. “I think those people will be pretty happily surprised to see the change.”

So far, he has received good feedback from the school, staff, teachers and coaches who have seen the results, he said.

As the school year started and Key began to see come of his classmates scrambling with starting their projects, he said he is glad to be finished.

“It was definitely good to be able to complete it in the summer,” he emphasized. “And who knows – maybe a decade or so down the road, someone else will do this as their project and it will be able to keep updated.”

Following graduation, Key plans to attend college and study forestry.

“I like anything in the outdoors and I know what will give me a lot of options,” he said.

And while many kids think they are ready to fly the coop and get out of Grangeville, Key doesn’t feel that way.

“I think I want to stick around here,” he said. “I like to fish and hunt and just be outside. It’s a good place for that.”


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