By Cindy Zomar, Contributing Writer
Southborough – Karen Galligan, director of the Southborough Department of Public Works, knew exactly who to call when she needed some renovation work done for the Southborough Golf Course, on a very tight budget. The clubhouse on the course had been lifted from its foundation and moved to a new one when the new Public Safety Complex was established, and it needed new siding, trim and a new roof. The windows, corner trim, and the double doors also needed to be replaced, and a large deck with stairs to grade level was to be constructed.
“The students had made some sheds for me at the town transfer station and I saw how professional they looked. I was already familiar with the great work done by vocational/technical schools, so I reached out to Assabet and they have just done an awesome job,” Galligan said. “You worked very hard and produced high quality work,” she told the students.
In appreciation for their efforts, the students were treated to a pizza party held in the Fire Station, where an Assabet alumnus was ready to greet them as a current member of the Southborough force. Travis Pacific graduated from the House Carpentry program in 2011. With his EMT certification already under his belt by the time he graduated high school, Pacific began to volunteer with the Berlin Fire Department, his hometown. He eventually switched to volunteer in Southborough and was sent to the Fire Academy in Hudson. He has been on the Southborough Fire Department for five years.
“I remember two work extension projects that I was part of at Assabet, one was a house we built in Southborough, and the other some extensive renovation at the Assabet Valley Collaborative in Marlborough,” Pacific recalled. “My senior year I was on a co-op job with Doer Construction.” When asked if he still uses his carpentry skills, Pacific chuckled and admitted that he recently bought an old farmhouse in Berlin, built in 1890, and has plenty of renovation work to do.
Southborough Building Commissioner Laurie Livoli spoke to the students as well, having been the inspector on their job.
“The work couldn’t be more perfect,” she said. “I attribute that to your having a good teacher in Mr. Coulson, Good luck in whatever your future holds but know that good carpenters who pay attention to the details are always in demand.”
Wayne Coulson is the school’s off-campus project coordinator who schedules, organizes and monitors the variety of offsite assignments that the school undertakes, as well as leading his own House Carpentry students’ work extension projects. The students gain valuable skills from actual on-the-job training.
“In the spring, when the water is turned back on, we will come back and pour the concrete step at the bottom of the stairs and put new gutters on. Our Painting and Design students will finish it all off with some new paint. In the meantime, we have several other projects lined up to keep us busy,” Coulson said. “I love being out here with the kids!”