A custom-made grill/smoker and trailer -designed and built by students- took center stage at a cook-out at Georgia Piedmont Technical College’s Newton campus. Faculty and staff fired up the new grill on Monday, December 6 at the Building D/Conference Center in Covington. Besides being built entirely by GPTC students and faculty, the materials needed were donated by a Newton-based small business owner. The project started with an idea and then a conversation. 

“This project came about by my desire to teach students more than just welding,” instructor Weygand Grant said. “I wanted to give them the chance to build something that would be used for years and years and to take ownership of it.” 

dean, instructor, and student posing in front of grill
Pictured are (left to right) Dean of industrial technologies and legal studies Dr. Arthur Evans, welding instructor Weygand Grant, and welding student Nicolas Depkin.

Grant approached local businessman Robert Cooper who immediately bought into the idea, by donating all the materials needed to see the grill and trailer come to fruition. Both Cooper and Grant wanted the students to do the lion’s share of the work. From design to the final touches, students did it all. Two of the four students on the project are dually enrolled at the Newton College and Career Academy (NCCA); the project supervisor was high school junior Tanner Putnam. 

“Putting it down on paper and then putting it together in real life was just really incredible,” Putnam said. “To see scraps of metal turn into something like this was amazing.” 

The grill features temperature gauges, a smoker, custom signage, a steel prep area, and even a storage bin for wood.  

For a video recap of the project, click here.