Johnson County students revamp golf cart to help people with disabilities

OLATHE, Kan. -- At Olathe Advanced Technical Center (OATC), students have been working nonstop on a unique project: transforming a golf cart.

“I saw the cart when we first brought it in when it was all white and it was dirty and just a mess, and seeing it now is a pretty cool accomplishment, what everyone together accomplished,” Olathe North junior Jake Adams said.

Months later, it’s been transformed.

“We put a three-inch lift on it, new wheels and tires, and then we're waiting for the roof to get done so we can have some extra LED lights,” Olathe North junior Garrett Schnoor said.

The new transportation vehicle will assist people with disabilities getting to various events throughout the Olathe district.

“We started working on it and were like, ‘Oh, it's a grade. Let's just get it done,’ but then we started working on it and knew what was going to happen,” Blue Valley Southwest senior Jack Palecki said. “We felt the impact it was going to have on us, and we didn't really worry about the grade.”

It was a joint effort from the tech programs within OATC.

“Construction trades is even working on the mounts. You have collision doing the paint, welding obviously doing the handicap deck piece,” auto tech instructor Edward Hensley said, "and auto tech putting in the lifted suspension.”

Hensley said in his 10 years, this is the largest multi-program project OATC has done.

Students said although they may be graduating soon, they’re leaving their mark, hoping to create an even more inclusive community.

“It's important to make sure that even in like at school or whatever that everyone has easy access and that was the main driving force behind the project,” Olathe Northwest senior Layne Christiansem said.

“It should be the kindness of everyone's heart to do this for people,” Palecki said.

The Olathe Foundation financed $5,000 for the project. EPR Properties financed $2,500 for it.

Hensley said he expects the cart to be completed and ready to use by the end of May.

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