Meridian Technology Center students have created a focal point for The Mid South bike race festivities to be held in downtown Stillwater this weekend.
A 12 ½-foot bike stood in the Precision Metal Fabrication program bay, towering over the students and machines that made it. It was waiting to be loaded onto a trailer and escorted to downtown Stillwater to be installed on top of the ProValue.Net building. Students who worked on it posed proudly next to it for a photo.
Rebecca Eastham, Executive Director of Business and Industry Services at Meridian, came up with the idea when she heard District Bicycle owner Bobby Wintle talk about the vision behind The Mid South bike race. “I wanted to get involved, but I didn’t want to ride a bike 100 miles, so I thought of putting a giant bike on top of the ProValue.Net building,” said Eastham.
She recalled how ProValue.Net put a Christmas tree on top of their building each holiday season. So together, Eastham and Drew Beverage, Vice President of Business Development & Operations at ProValue.Net, developed a plan. Beverage agreed to handle installing and lighting the bike on top of their building during the event, telling Eastham that they already had the electrical hookups and lights from the Christmas tree. Will Clay, a Meridian graduate, programmed the lights so that it looks like the bike’s wheel is spinning.
The Mid South is a multi-day event that includes a 50K run, a 50-mile bike ride, and a 100-mile bike race over Oklahoma’s dirt roads. There will also be live music, food trucks and an expo throughout the weekend in downtown Stillwater. Nearly 3,000 people from all over the world plan to attend this year.
Eastham presented the project to several of Meridian’s full-time programs as a live work project — a project from a real-world client that students get experience working on. She found a photo of a bike for reference and gave it to Computer Aided Drafting students who designed and scaled plans for the bike. Precision Metal Fabrication and Welding students cut, shaped and welded square and rectangular tubing to build the bike itself. The materials were donated anonymously by a community member.
“It took us three days to build it,” Precision Metal Fabrication Instructor Justin Nisbett said. “The students thought it was a neat project.”
The end result is 20 feet wide, 12 ½ feet tall, and weighs about 400 pounds.
“This is going to be in visitors’ Instagram photos all weekend. People all over the country are going to point to it and say, ‘That’s Stillwater, Oklahoma,’” said Eastham. “And students will be able to point to it and say, ‘I built that.’”
Meridian Technology Center has been a driver of economic development since 1975. With a mission to educate, enrich lives and secure economic futures, Meridian offers full-time career training programs, short courses, Business and Industry services and entrepreneurial support to residents from the Agra, Carney, Glencoe, Guthrie, Morrison, Mulhall-Orlando, Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon, Perry and Stillwater school districts.