Vocational Schools Team Up in Tri-Town

Recently, some students at Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School have gotten to work, and the results should be something that they and other residents of Rochester should be proud of for a long time to come.

Led by their teachers, groups of juniors and seniors from the school have traveled each day (weather permitting) to Gifford Field in Rochester to construct the new Snack Shack, which will be utilized at Old Rochester Little League games. Stu Norton, who is the teacher for the House and Mill Carpentry group at Old Colony, said that they started construction in November, and that they are made up of students from his department and two others – Electrical and CAD – as well as students from the New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School’s Plumbing Department.

“It’s a win-win,” Norton said. “It saves the school money, and it saves the community the cost of building a building like this. And it’s real work.”

The new building, which includes a handicap-accessible bathroom, a trophy/bulletin board case, and a serving window, replaces an older structure that previously existed on the property. In the end, the building will have been constructed entirely by the students and their teachers.

“It’s good for the community,” said Brandon Sousa, who is part of the group of juniors with the House and Mill Carpentry group. The students in each department alternate weekly with the other group of seniors who also work on the project. The grades alternate between shop and academics, with juniors and seniors on opposite schedules, so every week, it’s a different crew on site, but Norton said that it has been good to see all of the different departments working together on the project.

“It’s just great that kids understand the value of that in the community,” Norton said.

Norton said that the Old Rochester Little League provided the funds for the new building with proceeds earned from the old snack shack. He added that the new shack is quite a bit larger than the old one was, and that they hope to have it completed by the end of the school year. During a recent visit, the carpentry group was adding shingles to the exterior of the shack, with more interior work remaining.

Norton said that “all aspects, from the windows and the doors to the wiring and the plumbing and the design,” were done by the students. “It’s better than building a fake wall and throwing it all away.” He added that he expects the concrete on the exterior to be poured in about two weeks.

By Nick Walecka

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