Paul & Charlie Talk Shop

Workshop tools on a wall

University Woods resident Paul Irwin was excited about his move to Oakwood, but not as excited about the woodshop that awaited him on campus.

“When I toured Oakwood, I was shown the workshop, which was located in the Tower, and I didn’t care much for it. It was cramped with too much stuff in it, and a lot of the tools were out of date,” he says.

In planning for his move, he knew this space wouldn’t suffice and he’d have to figure out something else. After doing some research and realizing that renting commercial space wasn’t feasible, he had another idea.

“I made an appointment with Dave Bertsch (Director of Facilities and Property Management), and talked to him about donating my tools to Oakwood.”

Man in workshop

Knowing that a workshop is important to many residents, Dave began a search for a suitable space on campus.

A spot within the P1 level of the Heritage Oaks parking garage was identified. It had been used as a ‘Plan Room’ by Facilities Services – a place to keep blueprints and paper plans for the campus buildings. Dave met with the resident Workshop Committee to propose the move, which the committee supported wholeheartedly. Paul and Dave worked with committee chair, Charlie Bunge, and the Workshop Committee members to make plans for the space.

“I’ve always been interested in workshops and especially woodworking. I had my own home workshop before I came to Oakwood.”

Thanks to a grant from the Oakwood Foundation, change was underway. Early in 2020, power grids and circuits were installed in the space to ensure it would have enough power for the incoming tools. Paul's donation included not just his tools, but a dust collector as well, and new cabinetry and LED lighting was also installed.

“I’ve always been interested in workshops and especially woodworking. I had my own home workshop before I came to Oakwood,” shares Charlie.

The Workshop officially opened at the end of August, and due to current social distancing guidelines, no more than two residents can be in the space at a time. It is available for use by all residents, though residents new to the Workshop must first go through a brief orientation and sign a waiver to use the space. Once orientation is completed, residents receive a key code for the door on the Workshop.

Though it has only recently opened, the Workshop has already seen quite a bit of use. Charlie and Paul were enlisted to make some wooden chairs for the Nature Preserve. Previously, the only seating in the preserve was wooden benches without arms, which aren’t the most practical for many residents. “We made a total of five chairs and they’ve been very popular,” Charlie says.

Share this Story with Your Friends and Family


Thanks for reading! This is just one of many articles from our Fall 2020 Outlook newsletter.

To read more from this issue, download the PDF by clicking the button below.