HUNTSVILLE - Helping local youth learn a trade while constructing a much-needed facility for the community was the goal of collaboration between three groups.
Students from a pre-construction program, offered by Brockville’s St. Lawrence College, the YMCA Employment and Literacy Services and supported by the Town of Huntsville, pose with instructors and members of the Brunel Community Hall Board in front of a storage/washroom facility at Conroy Park they helped to build.
Eighteen Huntsville and area residents participated in a pre-construction program, offered by Brockville’s St. Lawrence College, the YMCA Employment and Literacy Services and supported by the Town of Huntsville.
The program was an eight-week program that offered a variety of construction experience and certifications to help the participants move forward in the construction field.
The students worked on constructing a storage facility/public washroom at the Conroy Park during the program.
The program concluded on Friday, and the 18 students who first entered the program graduated that day, something made Michael A. Laking, the manager of community outreach and corporate learning for St. Lawrence College, very happy.
“They have had about six weeks from the time the materials arrived to work on the project,” Laking said. “We had two field supervisors we brought in to demonstrate and oversee the construction, but the youth have 90 per cent or better of the building.”
The graduates were Robbie Bradshaw, Cortney Chapman, Mark Davies, Amy Fisher, Tyler Gross, Courtney Howard, Kyle Litster, Matthew Locke, Rusty Mason, Mike Maynard, Tyler McKinnon, Krystle Romanko, Matthew Snider, Christina Summerville, Nate Upton, James Van Duzen and Courtney Wilkinson
Laking said that majority of the students are in their early twenties, with about two of the participants having done any construction work before joining the program. He praised the students for their efforts, saying the quality of the work “speaks for itself.”
He said the students spent two weeks in the classroom before starting work on the building.
The building will now be winterized, said Laking, adding that the college is talking with town officials about doing another eight-week course in the spring that would have the project completed.
Funding for the project came from the Brunel Community Hall Board, and according to board chair and Huntsville councillor Tim Withey, the cost is around $80,000.
He said that similar to the rejuvenation and upkeep of the Brunel Locks and other dock projects in the town, the hall board believes in giving back to the community.
“The board takes pride in supporting worthwhile projects in our community,” he said. “Not only is the new building a welcome enhancement to Conroy Park, this project provided new skills to help members of our community with a hand up to a brighter future.”