MSU Billings City College students renovate van for Laurel Church


Montana State University Billings City College students in the Automotive Repair and Refinishing Technology program recently finished painting a pickup truck for a Laurel Church. The vehicle was presented to members of the congregation on December 13.

Instructor Steven Wodrich was approached by John Farnes, pastor at Family Church in Laurel, about this project. Finishing the exterior of the van would give Wodrich’s students hands-on experience and be of great service to the church because they weren’t charging for any of their work.

In the auto body lab, the students took the van apart and sanded it down. They removed any dents from the vehicle’s body before priming it for new paint. The bumpers, running boards and wheels were also refurbished by the students during the month-long project.

With donations from Denny Menholt Chevrolet and American Auto Body for paint, bodywork students were able to refinish the exterior of the vehicle at no additional cost. U-Pol Products also donated supplies for the vehicle’s exterior changes. Clearview Auto Glass donated a new windshield and Northland Auto and Truck donated fenders. Since the students had yet to work on custom paint jobs, Auto Trim Design donated their time to add the church logo to its exterior.

“It has been a good learning experience for our students,” says Wodrich. “It also gave them the opportunity to give back to the community and support a local church that works hard to help those in need.”

This spring, students will participate in the third Recycled Ride Project, where they will salvage a wrecked vehicle, repair the damage with donated parts and materials, and present it to a local family in need. This project will be completed in April 2022.


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