TYNGSBORO – Superintendent Jill Davis is pleased to share that Greater Lowell Technical High School students are using their skills to contribute to the renovation of an historic building in the Town of Dracut.
About a dozen students in the Carpentry program are creating a 4-foot by 8-foot solid oak table for the Centre School Project. The former school is being renovated into nine units of affordable housing with a preference for veterans.
The Centre School building is more than 120 years old, and served as Town Hall Annex for years after the school was closed in 1980. Lowell-based Coalition for a Better Acre purchased the building in 2017 and is partnering with the Town on the renovation.
Russell Pandres, CBA’s real estate project manager, invited Greater Lowell Tech to become involved. After several discussions, the school was asked to have students create a table for the building’s community room, where residents will gather or meet privately with service providers.
Students researched conference tables from the turn of the 20th century, and discovered design and construction were straightforward. The students’ final design features setback legs, which are both in keeping with the period and compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.
Under the supervision of their instructors, carpentry students performed several tasks to build the table, which included: running boards through a thickness planer; edging boards on a jointer; using a shaper table to create bead profile; ripping and building slat spreader boards as per plan; milling and laminating oak to create 4-foot by 4-inch solid oak table legs; and tapering the legs on two sides to add craftsmanship to the design.
Once the table was built, students in the Painting and Design program added two coats of wood finish to complete the project, keeping the final color consistent with the look of the building interior.
Greater Lowell Tech students work on many community service projects, which permit students to apply skills they have learned while building the foundations of good citizenship. Students recently have worked on, or are working on, projects involving Habitat for Humanity, the Dracut Council on Aging, and the Tyngsboro Police Station. Carpentry students also are nearing completion of a large welcome sign to be installed at the gateway to Lowell’s Centralville neighborhood.
“Community work instills a feeling of pride,” said Construction Technology Chair Dan Hamel. “When they drive around, they can see their work. The sense of accomplishment is why people stay in the trades.”
The Centre School Project attracted the interest of the PBS series “This Old House,” which will be featuring updates on several shows. On Thursday, May 5, host Kevin O’Connor visited Greater Lowell Tech to learn more about the school’s participation.
O’Connor spoke with Carpentry Instructor Bruce Brown, who explained the project and the school’s vocational mission. Students Lindsey Erazo and Maryellen Sweeney of Lowell, and Tyler Dumais of Tyngsboro, demonstrated techniques they are using to build the table.
“This isn’t something that you make, and someone will use once,” Erazo said. “This is something you make, and a lot of people will use for a long time.”
“We value our strong relationships with our sending communities, and the opportunities they offer our students to gain real-world experience in their field. The completed table will be something they can all take pride in,” Superintendent Davis said. “Thank you to Kevin O’Connor and ‘This Old House’ for spotlighting our students’ exceptional work.”
“This Old House” is produced by and airs locally on WGBH, Channel 2.