To say that Jake Hofflinger’s yearly candy house project just keeps getting bigger and better seems like a huge understatement. After all, half of this year’s undertaking measures more than 14 feet long.
Now in its seventh year, Great Bend High School technology students didn’t look far to find inspiration for their building efforts. They chose downtown Great Bend, specifically Main Street from 11th to 16th Streets.
“This is by far the largest project we’ve ever done,” said Hofflinger, technologies teacher. “It has less detail, but more buildings than we’ve ever attempted.”
The streetscape features all of the downtown businesses in a six-block area and is a half block wide on both sides of Main Street. Some buildings, like the Barton County Courthouse, Bank of America and the CASA building, are easily identifiable. Others take more careful discernment to put a business name to the building since signage proved to be a difficult obstacle.
One reason for the huge project is that it needed to accommodate all of the students that Hofflinger has in his classes this year.
“We needed something big enough so that all 46 students would have something to work on,” Hofflinger said. Even so, students had to come up with a second idea. They chose Kansas State University’s new “Bill Snyder Family Stadium.”
“It has been a marathon getting these two projects done,” he said.
He noted that his three advanced classes use skills taught in the curriculum like developing architectural scales, reading blueprints, creating site plans and building foam-board models to construct the buildings. They were covered with graham crackers and icing before details were added with a variety of candy types.
“A grant (provided by the USD 428 Education Foundation) allows them to hone their skills to create a fun project,” Hofflinger said. “Because of the size of the projects this year, I had to ask students to bring some items.”
Hofflinger is always impressed with the creativity of his students. This year, he enjoyed seeing them make parking lines and turning lanes on Main Street as well as cars and semitrailer trucks.
As always, the final step for students is eating their project before they leave school for Christmas break.