Office Of Emergency Management Dedication Ceremony
For the past three years, students from the Center for Technical Education Innovation have been renovating and updating the unused spaces at the city’s Office of Emergency Management, to little fanfare.
That all changed Friday when the city invited students from the trade programs that had been involved to a dedication ceremony to honor their work.
“It’s pretty amazing they appreciated what we did,” said CTEi junior Markus Azavedo, who has been involved with the renovations through the school’s electrical program.
Before CTEi became involved, the entire rear section of the emergency facility still resembled the warehouse space for which it had originally been used.
Since the work began, the students have already built a conference auditorium, kitchen, dining space and new offices that are used by the office’s deputy directors, representatives of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and local utility companies.
The students also insulated some of the building’s exterior walls to save on heating costs, while also building a deck and handicapped-accessible ramp.
“It’s taken a while to get everyone together in the same place,” Emergency Management Director Charlie Coggins said of Friday’s dedication ceremony. “We’re really hoping this gets more visibility for these students and makes people proud of how something is working in the school system.”
When the time came for the official ribbon-cutting, there was praise all around from city and school officials.
“We had this building and not a whole lot of money to fix it up, which is where all of you came in,” Mayor Dean Mazzarella told the students.
Mazzarella estimated that at a cost of about $300 per square foot, it would have cost the city millions to construct a new building from scratch.
“We were able to get this building finished off a lot faster than we thought, and this building is now more important than ever,” he said.
The ceremony was held despite much of the work being completed more than a year ago.
After hearing that there had been nothing to commemorate the new space after the work was completed, Jay Cruz an HVAC instructor at CTEi, took it upon himself to organize Friday’s ceremony.
“I heard about this right at the beginning of the school year, and I thought it was a shame that nothing had been done,” Cruz said.
While most of the students who performed the renovations have since graduated, many who attended Friday’s ceremony will continue to work on new projects at the Office of Emergency Management.
The students have already begun repurposing a storage space into a roughly 250-square-foot locker room and shower area for the office’s volunteers.