(BRECKENRIDGE, Texas) – When given the opportunity to help welcome people to his hometown, Stephen Hope did not hesitate to say yes.
Hope, Texas State Technical College’s Welding Technology instructor in Breckenridge, was approached with the project by the Breckenridge Downtown Development Council and its chairman, J.B. Sparks. The council, through the Breckenridge Economic Development Corp., plans to erect four new welcome signs at the city’s entrances.
Over the next few months, Hope and the TSTC Welding Technology students will weld a new welcome sign at the city’s east entrance on U.S. Highway 180. The sign is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
“This is a huge deal for TSTC and our welding students, as well as for the city of Breckenridge,” Hope said. “I am really excited to be part of something special for my hometown.”
Hope remembers his childhood days and the city’s welcome signs deteriorating over time.
“These new welcome signs are going to be a great way for all of us to welcome people to our community,” he said.
Sparks said having TSTC be part of the community-wide project was an easy decision.
“As a council, we are big advocates for TSTC and the campus in Breckenridge,” he said. “The way that Stephen works with the students and the community is something we wanted to acknowledge with this project. We are so pleased Stephen and his students will be part of this project. We could not do this without them.”
TSTC will be among several local vendors used for the project, Sparks said. He added that bids are being reviewed for other aspects of the project, including landscaping and cement work. The welcome signs will be lit at night, with Resist-All Electric handling that aspect of the project.
No start date has been set for the construction of the first sign. However, TSTC students are ready to get to work after seeing the design for the first time earlier this month.
“I am excited to be part of something for this community,” said Dorian White of Mineral Wells.
Kyle Whichering, of Springtown, is already planning what he wants to do when the first sign is complete.
“I am going to tell everyone that I am riding with that I helped build that welcome sign,” he said.
Hope said the first welcome sign will be at least 20 feet in width and almost 20 feet tall. The welding work will be done on-site, something that Hope feels will benefit his students.
“They will be able to get a feel for something they might be doing on a job site,” he said. “This will be a great way to expose our students to work outside of the lab.”
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.