Students lend a helping hand to Marion Community Center

Sep 19, 2022

MARION — Buzzsaws whirred, and hammers banged as Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical High School students worked to build a covered walkway leading into the Benjamin D. Cushing Community Center in Marion. 

The technical high school has an agreement with some towns, including Marion, that allows its students to work on municipal projects during class time, explained first-year carpentry teacher Andrew Macleod.

The group of seniors arrive at the center around 8:40 a.m. and leave around 1:30 in the afternoon, said student Dominic Gauthier, 17. They have been working on this project since Monday, Sept. 12.

“We’re making pretty good progress, I think,” said 17-year-old Jovauny Auguste.

Macleod, who has worked in carpentry for over 30 years, said that many of his students “could barely hammer a nail” when they began in his class. 

Now he feels comfortable giving them instructions and sending them off to handle things on their own. 

Macleod hopes that this project and others like it will prepare his students for working in construction once they graduate,teaching them the basic terminology of the job and giving them experience with building methods. 

The covered walkway on the community center has been in the works since 2019, when it was approved for around $21,000 from the town during a town meeting, said Facilities Director Shaun Cormier. 

However, after costs for the project rose, the town realized they didn’t have enough money to pay for both materials and labor, said Town Administrator James McGrail.

The carpentry students are not paid by the town, leading to the complete removal of labor costs, said McGrail. 

“It worked out really well,” he said. “It’s a creative solution.”

This is not the first time carpentry students from the technical school have worked on a project in Marion. According to McGrail, students built Fire Station 2 on Point Road in the early ‘90s. 

In the future, said McGrail, carpentry students from the school will work on a new garage and storage area at the Community Center that was approved for $81,000 in funding at a previous town meeting. 

“For them, [this project] is good. It’s what they’re learning to do,” said McGrail. “They needed the work and we needed the help so it really worked out.”