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This school year our student artisans have been busy at the Lloyd Center constructing a new and exciting project — a state of the art welcome center.  The Living Building Challenge Welcome Center is a small building with an enormous impact. With this building being a spearhead for environmentally friendly buildings, this project couples hand in hand with our school’s “Go Green” initiative. The design, methods of application and the materials used are specific in every regard to ensure this structure gives more back to the environment than it takes away through the use of solar power, and other sustainable means of operation.  Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech is making history; our work is in alignment with international standards with fewer than 30 buildings certified worldwide, none presently in our region and the only one to be constructed by students anywhere. Upon completion, the building, the school, and our student artisans will receive state, national and international recognition.

When we arrived in the fall, our main focus was on the metal roof which required specific applications before the actual roofing product could be installed. Because safety is a priority on any construction site, we utilized the project to conduct extensive ladder and scaffolding safety training. Ultimately the metal roof was completed and functioning efficiently. Throughout the winter, our students were engaged and working outdoors steadily on this project.  Hold down anchors which were completed in part by donated equipment by HILTI along with various framing components throughout the building were constructed. The windows have been installed per the manufacturer’s specifications and were demonstrated in our carpentry shop on a mock-up wall prepared by our students. That mockup could be displayed on site for a guided walk through learning tours of the building over the summer months.

Throughout the remaining months of school, we intend to prepare for the installation of exterior doors. Intello Plus insulation and membrane along with a host of other applications will be performed to prepare us for the “Blower Test”, one of many to be performed. Once approved, we will begin some of the 1”x 8” shiplap and cedar shingle siding to the exterior. This too will require unique methods of application involving specified flashing, strapping and ventilation practices.

In addition to that actual construction, a variety of our other Career and Technical Programs have been instrumental in the process of our involvement in this project. Our Engineering students have begun designing a bicycle rack to complement the Centers theme of environmental awareness which will be later be fabricated by our welding students. Media Technology students have been monitoring the project with photos and video throughout its entirety to document our progress which will contribute to the actual LBC certification. Visual Design students will be composing signage and imagery to provide direction and awareness about the finer points of the center and our architectural mill room will be preparing material to be installed onsite from logs harvested from the property. Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech is excited to continue our involvement with such a groundbreaking project, and an amazing opportunity for our students in the months to come.