The students in the afternoon residential carpentry class at the Mid-Coast School of Technology are doing something special for their community. They are using the skills they are learning as carpenters to assemble two dugouts for the Cushing Recreation Department.

Dan Dishner, who teaches the class, said this is not the first time he’s set his students on the task of dugout building. The dugouts at the Jaycee Park on Old County Road in Rockland were built by one of his classes.

Originally, the Cushing Recreation Department had considered having the Maine State Prison build the dugouts for them, however, the program that would have built them, was shut down bringing the recreation’s board back to square one.

That’s when Ken Smith, a member of the Cushing Recreation Board took the dugout idea to Dishner.

Having come from a school which offered a vocational program, Smith said that he is a supporter of the MCST program. “We also understood that the project is for ‘Farm Team Dugouts.’ ” Smith said. Adding that the project would allow the carpentry students to learn without the concern for perfection.

Aside from coaching the boys Farm Team “Cushing Cobras” and being a member of the Cushing Recreation Board, Smith is also a sergeant for the Rockland Police Department. Smith has lived in the area 19 years, 11 of them in Cushing. During one of his police trainings, Smith sat in on one of Dishner’s carpentry classes.

The project is funded by the Cushing Rec department. Smith spearheaded the project by presenting Dishner with the interest in having his class build the two dugouts. After Dishner expressed interest in the project, Smith brought him the plans for the two buildings. In return, Dishner supplied Smith with a quote for the project.

Dishner then set his afternoon class to the task of building the dugouts.

Dishner’s afternoon class is a small one with only nine students. Jeff Bailey, Ryan Walker and Hanna Cutler from Camden Hills Regional High School, Chris Wilgus from Georges Valley High School, Joshua Neubig, Dan Winchenbach, Graham DeLeo and Mike Marble from Medomak Valley High School and Ike Morin, a homeschooled student, are the team that’s already built one dugout and well on the way to completion of the second.

The wire caging for the front of the dugouts has been provided by Brooks Trap Mill in Thomaston.

Smith said that he pops into the afternoon class almost weekly to watch the progress the students are making.

“The Cushing Recreation Program is a community program, and the carpentry program is a community program,” said Smith. “It’s a win-win situation.”

Neubig, a junior at Medomak Valley High School who is also a member of the Cushing fire department, said that he’s happy that he’s doing the project for the community. “It means a lot to be doing it,” he said.

Dishner enjoys being able to give his students projects like this and other buildings to do during the school year. “It teaches skills and it’s something they enjoy,” Dishner said.

The dugouts were originally to be placed on the Cushing field before the baseball season started, but due to rain, the cement slab was not able to be put in place. Now the dugouts will be set into place at the end of the season.

VillageSoup Sports Assistant Holly Vanorse can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at