Beneath the Hard Hat
C.D. Smith Company Blog

Fond du Lac ACE Academy Ice Shanty

Date: Jan 6, 2020 8:42:28 AM | Author: Mercedes Tucker
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After the 2019 sturgeon spearing season passed, a few C.D. Smith employees found themselves debating the best method for building an ice shanty and were struck by the similarities between an ice shanty and a conventional commercial building. This revelation morphed into the optimal opportunity to teach local high school students a variety of trades and construction skills construction and provide a boost of confidence while working to create something larger than themselves.


The ACE Shanties Project was born.

The Fond du Lac High School Architecture, Construction & Engineering (ACE) Academy is functioning in partnership with C.D. Smith Construction to build an Ice Shanty for sturgeon spearing, available for sale upon completion. In this, the program’s inaugural year, many generous in-kind donations were received to make the project a reality. The ACE Academy aims to build ice shanties each year, becoming a self-sustaining project with charitable returns to the Academy upon the sale of the completed shanties.



Why We Do It

The Fond du Lac ACE Academy provides a seamless career path for students electing to pursue a career in the construction industry. While a bachelor’s degree is necessary for some careers, trade schools create that prized group of individuals who have the skills to build the projects we work on each day here at C.D. Smith. The students who come out of programs like the Fond du Lac ACE Academy give us confidence in a competent and skilled workforce for the next generation of employees at C.D. Smith. The academy offers training and skills in a variety of trades including architecture, concrete, engineering, HVAC, equipment operating, carpentry, electrical, masonry, and plumbing. The academy is guided in part by those same local businesses who will hire its graduates; offering students the opportunity to learn from experts in a unique, hands-on environment outside of the basic classroom walls.

As part of our “C.D. Smith Gives Back” program, C.D. Smith understands the value of mentoring students in the skills that transcend construction. We are proud to give back to the community where so many of our employees live and raise their families in, and the ACE Shanties project was a perfect match.


The 2019 Holiday Parade

It’s that time of year, and the holiday festivities are all around us. With lights, tinsel, music and parties, even the ACE Shanty is getting involved in the holiday cheer! The shanty was featured in the Fond du Lac Holiday Parade, pulled by staff members of the ACE Academy.


Next Steps

Currently, the framing and metal siding are in place on the project and the shanties are taking shape. The custom-designed electrical system has been roughed in and the students are installing the insulation to the walls. Next will come the interior paneling, carpeting, seating, cabinets, and finishes. The project is on schedule to be completed late January, just in time for the Fond du Lac Sturgeon Spectacular event and opening day of sturgeon spearing!


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