RUMFORD — Quite literally, that’s what Region 9 students do in the building construction program – build for the future. They begin by building a small shed and finish their second year with a much more complex project. In the meantime, they learn lessons in safety and teamwork. They end up with skills for further education or for a wide variety of careers.
Senior Robert Babb of Peru chose the program because, “I always loved seeing something start from nothing and turning into something great.”
“I am very interested in building and would like to become an architect,” said Telstar senior Alex Gaudreau from Greenwood.
First-year student Jason Baldinelli, a junior from Dirigo High School, also has an eye to the future. “I chose building construction because I wanted to learn how to build and hopefully get into a two-year building construction class at Central Maine Community College.”
Instructor Lloyd Williams hopes to provide experiences that will allow his students a wide variety of career choices, including further education in the trades, related fields and even business.
Williams said, “When I started teaching 28 years ago, most schools that were doing building construction focused on residential carpentry. As the industry became more complex, schools needed to meet national standards. Region 9 chose NCCER – National Center for Construction Education Research, which is sponsored by a large national group of construction workers and builders.
“Part of the NCCER curriculum starts with core curriculum lessons,” Williams continued. “If a student wants to go carpentry, electrical, pipefitting or other trade, he or she must do the core first. We also do a 10-hour OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] program.
“Using this curriculum, students earn certification that is recognized in the construction industry and can earn credits at most community colleges,” Williams said.
Matthew Baptiste, a junior at Mountain Valley High School, said, “My favorite thing is we do hands-on work and spend less time in the classroom.”
Dirigo junior Trent Crosby agrees, “It is hands-on and the teacher helps out a lot.”
“I like how they treat you like an adult in the program,” said William Laurinaitis, a junior at MVHS.
Each student hopes to get something from the program beyond the credits for high school graduation.
For Dylan Lord, the hope is to earn certifications for building “or any certification I can get through the program.” Lord is a first-year student and a junior at Dirigo.
“I hope that I get a lot out of [the program] so I could have a job like this later on in life,” said William Lyman, a junior from Woodstock.
The first-year students build a shed that has all the characteristics of a residential house on a small scale – framing, roofing, siding and window and door installation. Those sheds are for sale to the public for 15 percent above the cost of materials, roughly $1900.
“In the past, we built houses for Community Concepts,” Williams said. “Now I look for other ‘live work’ projects that would not take work away from local contractors. Right now, we’re constructing a showcase building on Route 2 near the school.”
Williams continued, “First-year students do some of the basic tasks at the site. Second-year students do some of the more advanced work.”
The best testimony for what students learn, however, is in their recommendations of the program for fellow students.
Gaudreau said that he would recommend building construction, “It is very good and you will learn a lot.”