Win, Win Project
LEOMINSTER -- For the city’s recreation department, a project to add an addition for its Barrett Park building will help it better serve the public. For the Center for Technical Education Innovation students building that addition, it’s a way to apply their skills and give back to the community.
“You learn a lot and there’s a lot going on,” said senior Michael Beauregard, who wants to be an electrician. “I like putting stuff together and seeing the work completed. You know your own work. It’s good when you turn something on and see it works.”
He and peers from the carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning shops at the school have been working on the project since October. Together, they will build most of the addition, which is under 1,000-square feet.
About 50 CTEi students are part of the project and spend about four hours a day at the site. Each week, the juniors and seniors trade off working at the Barrett Park.
Recreation Director Judy Sumner said the two-story addition will have a bathroom that is handicap accessible, meeting space, and more room for offices and storage.
With the addition, the building will face the parking lot, which will make it easier for people to come to the department, she said.
It is expected to be completed by the end of the school year.
“The department is growing and the addition will make the building more functional,” said Doug Cormier, a general contractor who serves on the city’s Recreation Commission.
The recreation department building is over 100 years old and was previously the home of park caretaker William “Pinky” Landers.
On Friday, Sumner, Cormier, CTEi Director David Fiandaca and Superintendent Paula Deacon watched students and instructors build the addition as the sound of power tools and hammering cut through the morning air.
About a dozen electrical students worked with instructor Robert Needham, Jr. to drill holes around the addition and install conduit boxes, which will allow them to wire the building.
Gregory Stephanos, a plumbing instructor, worked with eight students in the basement as they took measurements to lay out where they will do plumbing work.
Old brass pipes will need to be taken out and the water mains in the building will need to be redone, he said.
“We have to work in stages,” Stephanos told the group. “We have to take it in chunks and work as we go.”
Carpentry instructors Butch Nadeau and Brian Williams guided eight students performing roof work. Some cut wood rafters and passed them up to their peers on the roof to install them.
The next step will be to put in sheeting and shingles on before it snows, which will help keep the addition dry.
When the addition is further along, HVAC students will come to install a heating system.
The addition and other projects completed around the city give students opportunities to be a part of Leominster, Nadeau said.
“They’re really invested and they feel good about giving back to the community,” he said.
With students working on the project, the cost for materials has been about $50,000, Sumner said. When the department got a quote to build one a few years go, it was about $165,000.
Money to pay for materials is coming from the recreation department’s revolving fund, she said.
Maki Building Centers, which has locations in Lunenburg, Gardner, and Sterling, is providing the supplies.
Some students told the superintendent about plans for after graduation, which include apprenticeships and work.
Deacon suggested that they come back to CTEi to teach or consider working for the school department, like with building maintenance.
“The trades are huge,” Deacon said, noting the interest from students about attending the technical school. “This is an endeavor and there are people who would like to be in your place ... The potential for Leominster to expand (its trades) is here. We have it here now.”
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