Photos courtesy of Northeast Metro Tech. Used with permission.
SkillsUSA students from Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational High School (Northeast Metro Tech) in Wakefield, Mass., began what will be a years-long renovation project that students who come after them will also take part in. The beneficiary of the students’ growing skills will be the 105-year-old Stoneham Fire Station. Nearly 30 juniors and seniors from the plumbing, electrical, carpentry and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) programs at the school recently kicked off the project while working in small groups to comply with COVID-19 safety guidelines.
“Teams of juniors and seniors will rotate so that each student will have an opportunity to participate in the project,” said David Fabrizio, the coordinator of the project and a vocational dean at the school. “The work will be done over a period of several years, so it will involve many students and give them all some great hands-on experience in the field.”
The plans are to relocate the kitchen to the second floor, turn the former kitchen space into a gear storage room, renovate a dilapidated bathroom, replace a wheelchair ramp at the front of the building and more.
“It’s a win-win for everyone,” said Stoneham Fire Chief Matthew Grafton. “The students learn from their experience, the fire department has a healthier work environment, and taxpayers are able to save a significant amount of money by not having to pay the cost of labor.”
“We are thrilled to be able to partner with Stoneham Fire Station to help our students gain hands-on experience and show their support for our community partners,” said David DiBarri, superintendent and director of Northeast Metro Tech. “Partnerships like this help to enrich the lives of our students, and I know this is something that they really look forward to each week.”