NIC students repair Camry for raffle

Garrett Cabeza, Sports Editor
March 4, 2013

The North Idaho College Booster Club is selling raffle tickets for a 1995 Toyota Camry that will be raffled off at the NIC Hall of Fame Awards Banquet May 4. The car was repaired by collision repair technology instructor Cal DeHaas and his students.

Tickets are $5 each or $20 for five tickets. All the money benefits NIC athletics.

DeHaas, who is in his 15th year of teaching the program and has been a NIC Booster Club Member for about 30 years, said that out of the 15 students in his program, about eight helped repair the car.

“This group has a great attention to detail,” DeHaas said. “It was a great team effort from these students to help out another program across campus.”

DeHaas acquired the Camry from Spalding Auto Parts in Spokane Valley, Wash. He said he has a friend who manages the establishment and keeps a lookout for potential raffle cars.

The car suffered front end damage, so DeHaas and his students welded a core support in, replaced the front bumper, headlights, left front fender, repaired a door, and painted the whole car.

“The whole car has to be torn down before you can paint it,” DeHaas said. “That’s where a lot of the work comes in.”

DeHaas also said that the machine shop at NIC made plastic NIC emblems to replace the stock ones on the wheels of the Camry.

DeHaas estimated that the car took over 125 hours to repair.

Richard Schwemmer, 40, a collision repair major from Coeur d’Alene focused his attention on the paint job.

“The biggest challenge was putting some of the parts back together that other students took off, and I didn’t know where they went,” Schwemmer said. “Other than that, it was fairly straightforward.”

Schwemmer has auto repair experience from doing projects in his garage, but he wanted to turn his hobby into a career. So, he enrolled at NIC to learn more and see how a shop runs.

Since most students enter his class with limited experience, DeHaas said that this project would be better suited for the spring semester as opposed to Fall semester, when the students actually worked on it.

“Then the students would just take it all the way through,” DeHaas said. “But doing it first semester, we’re not quite ready to do it, so I help and guide a lot with that process and do a lot of the work myself. This year’s students just bought into it and they were eager to be a part of it and did a great job on it.”

DeHaas puts the Camry on the sidewalk right outside Christianson Gymnasium during home basketball games for people to look at.

“When it’s parked out in front of the gym, it just attracts a lot of attention, especially when you paint a whole car,” DeHaas said. “So when you take an older car and paint it new, it really catches somebody’s eyes when you do that. The compliments at the home basketball games have been very positive.”

Schwemmer appreciates the car as well.

“It’s a little bit older but it looks new so that’s pretty cool,” Schwemmer said. “I thought it would be cool to actually own it.”

To buy a ticket, visit the NIC Athletics Office or contact Patty Stewart at extension 3348 or patty_stewart@nic.edu. DeHaas is also selling tickets. He can be contacted at 769-3440 or cfdehaas@nic.edu.

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