Building community

Tech center students finish two-year project

Elodie Reed

By Elodie Reed

Staff Writer

Just
The Facts

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ST. ALBANS CITY — When building trades program students from either Northwest Technical Center in St. Albans or Cold Hollow Career Center in Enosburg Falls begin construction work, they also construct a community.

Take Seth Hungerford, for example. A graduate from the NWTC Building Trades in 2000, he now is in his first year as the instructor of CHCC’s construction program.

“Anybody that graduates from a building trades program, never leaves the program,” said Steve Wunsch, the current NWTC building trades instructor and Hungerford’s former teacher.

Hungerford brought eight of his 16 students to St. Albans City on Tuesday, where they helped Wunsch and his students with some final steps of a two-year project: the renovation of the 41 Hudson St. home.

CHCC students were there to do everything they could to finish, since the close to 50 NWTC building trades students must complete the house in two weeks, but lost time in a day-long assessment test yesterday.

“We’re on a crunch,” said Wunsch. “This is really the Vermont way,” he added, comparing the house’s completion to a barn raising.

Originally, the renovation was supposed to take a month and a half, but when the NWTC students went to look at and under the roof, they found the roof and structural frame was rotten, and tore the building apart.

“The homeowner allow us to redesign it,” said Wunsch. “What we really tried to do is keep the nostalgic, old look of the house,” he added. He said the aim was for it to fit in the with the revitalization of much of the city.

“We wanted to make it stand out. Hopefully when [the people of St. Albans] see it, they’ll appreciate it,” said Wunsch.

On Tuesday, CHCC students were finishing siding, taping, and preparing to paint downstairs. The sound of saws, hammers, and shouting voices echoed from the block, and various hard-hatted students ran busily back and forth.

In a similar fashion to CHCC yesterday, NWTC students have spent more than 100 hours volunteering after school on the project.

“To me it really shows the kids’ interest,” said Wunsch. “It’s like working with adults. It’s been a great experience.”

Once finished, the home will be sold along with the two vacant lots next to it on Federal Street as part of a package, and donations of the sale will go towards the NWTC building trades program.

Jackie Brown and her brother-in-law, Gary Brown, own the property.


Open house tonight

An open house will be held at 41 Hudson St. tonight from 5 to 7:30. This is an opportunity for the public to see the home rehabilitation work done there by Northwest Technical Center Building Trade students