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Our students lend vocational skills to Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce Project

A hallmark of our culture is promoting lifelong learning and developing innovative teaching techniques. As we are limited to admitting approximately 315 students each year out of upwards of 1,000 applications, we search for opportunities to aid in bringing exceptional career technical education to all students in the Blackstone Valley. Recently, BVT students shared their vocational skills with the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce as they created new instructional space for a workforce training center.

The shared mission of addressing the shortage of skilled workers in Massachusetts by providing opportunities for students to learn in-demand technical skills made the project a perfect collaboration between BVT and the Chamber of Commerce.

Several of our programs were involved in retrofitting space within the Linwood Mill into classrooms and laboratories. After a meeting with the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce, their partners, and BVT programs to discuss the function of the new classrooms and the desired features, the BVT Drafting & Design students created drawings of the space, which allowed the parties to see their ideas in action and modify them as necessary. The rough plans were given to an architect who completed them and worked with BVT staff and the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce to pull permits for the project.

When it came time to build out the space, our Construction Technology students faced the challenge of matching new construction with old construction. The Linwood Mill is almost 200 years old, and the students needed to build partitions in a way that would match the style of the architecture. In addition, there was significant demolition and restoration work that needed to be completed to maintain the historical value of the room.

“They had to build the wall so that it would fit in the existing space,” said Vocational Director Thomas Belland. “It’s going to look out of place if they don’t make exact measurements and follow their plans.”

Once the new, soundproofed walls were built, the Electrical students stepped in to reroute wire displaced in the construction, run new cabling, and bring power and lighting into the space. As the room now included an extra wall and a room, the wiring had to be modified to accommodate the changes.

Bringing exceptional career technical learning opportunities to residents of the Blackstone Valley is nothing new for our students. We complete renovation projects each year for district towns, promote career technical activities, share curriculum with other schools, and assist area school systems in implementing non-duplicative career technical programs.