On February 14, 2013, the Town of Montreat Board of Commissioners approved a $10,000 project proposed by Montreat College students to replace the deteriorating Greybeard Trail Walking Bridge.

Students taking “Leadership and Group Dynamics,” an outdoor education course taught by Professor Ken Kalisch, were given a few options for a community development project that required group problem-solving. One group of students decided to undertake the rebuilding of a Greybeard Trail walking bridge that had deteriorated. The students requested $10,000 to cover an approved bridge design and materials to accompany a donation of student labor; Montreat students will remove the old bridge and help put a new one in place. The Greybeard Trail walking bridge, located half-way to the road’s end, has been a community favorite due to linking residences on Kentucky Road with those on Greybeard Trail.

The students presented the proposal to the town’s Board of Commissioners, which they approved at their last meeting. The next step is to pursue a professional design for the new bridge and get it approved.

Senior Petey Guillard said he has gained much from this real-world educational opportunity: “[It] has been a great learning experience for the entire group. We were given a real problem, we had to secure real funds, and we provided a real solution. In the process, we have all had the privilege of learning how to work with our local government to get things done in our community.”

Another group in the class has undertaken the task of proposing a research-based upgrade to outside lighting for the Montreat and Black Mountain campuses of Montreat College. The group is working with Jim Neil, director of facilities, to find a solution that will improve the current lighting situation for the campus communities.