TCTC Building Trades students will construct a home

DEXTER — With help from various community partners, students in the Building Trades program at Tri-County Technical Center will soon be able to apply what they have learned in the classroom in the real world as they are part of a crew to construct a family home on Main Street Hill. The approximately 1,800-square foot house will be put on the market and become someone’s home, standing as a reminder of the students’ time, talents, and hard work.

A ground-breaking ceremony for the future home at 128 Main Street Hill took place on the morning of June 6 at the lot located between the Charleston and Fern roads.

In his opening remarks TCTC Director Brian Leavitt said, “Today we break ground on a project that builds both homes and futures, made possible through the partnership between the Dexter Sunrise Kiwanis, local industry, and Tri-County Technical Center. This initiative is transformative, for our students it offers hands-on experience and essential skills in construction trades, setting them up for successful careers. For our community it meets a critical need for housing, creating safe and sustainable homes for families. 

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
CEREMONIAL SHOVELING — TCTC Building Trades students will be constructing a family home at 128 Main Street Hill in Dexter through a partnership with Dexter Sunrise Kiwanis and various community partners. Taking part in the June 6 groundbreaking ceremony were, from left, Town Manager Trampas King, TCTC Graphic Design Instructor/Dexter Sunrise Kiwanis President Marcy King, Shawn Lancaster of C.L. Lancaster Foundations. SAD 46/AOS 94 Superintendent Kevin Jordan, TCTC Director Brian Leavitt, and Building Traders Instructor Jay Philbrick.

“A heartfelt thank you to Dexter Sunrise Kiwanis, Tri-County Technical Center, our dedicated educators, industry professionals and partners, and local government and community partners. In particular I would like to thank Marcy King and Shawn Lancaster of the Dexter Sunrise Kiwanis for having faith and confidence in our program. Jay Philbrick, the building trades instructor at Tri-County Technical Center, for sharing and implementing the vision of our school and to (SAD 46/AOS 94) Superintendent Kevin Jordan for supporting and encouraging Tri-County Technical Center to pursue this opportunity for our students. Your support makes this possible. Today we are not just starting construction, we are laying the foundation for a brighter future. One with skilled workers and stronger neighborhoods.”

TCTC Graphic Design Marcy King, who is the president of Dexter Sunrise Kiwanis, said the Kiwanis club “is excited to reinstate our partnership with Tri-County Technical Center’s Building Trades program with this home construction project.” 

She said a similar partnership existed decades ago, building homes around the area, but it dissolved with time.

“Kiwanis is a global non-profit organization dedicated to improving the world one child and community at a time.” King said, “Our club here in Dexter is driven and committed to our community right here. This partnership will help nurture TCTC student learning and community engagement while developing their skills to become valuable citizens within their own communities. 

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
STUDENT CONTRACTORS — TCTC Building Trades students will be gaining real world experience as they will be part of a construction project for a home on Main Street Hill in Dexter.

“On behalf of Dexter Sunrise Kiwanis I would like to thank our project sponsors because without them, this project would not be possible,” she said. King then mentioned Ralph McNaughton of McNaughton Construction, Roger Salley of Hailey’s, Chuck Ellms of C.M. Ellms, Mark Robinson of A.E. Robinson Oil Company, Moe Gould of Cianbro Corporation, Chris McGary of Ware-Butler Building Supplies, Charlie and Jim Quimby of RE/MAX Infinity, and Lancaster of C.L. Lancaster Foundations.

After the ceremony King said resurrecting the former home build partnership between TCTC and Dexter Sunrise Kiwanis will “bring our students out into the community, building a home, and having that legacy as they go forward in their careers or wherever they end up. It hasn’t happened in many years so this is sort of reinstating that partnership between our club, our community, and our school.”

TCTC offers programs for students from six surrounding school districts, those based in Dexter, Dover-Foxcroft, Guilford, Milo, Greenville, and Newport.

“The purpose is to obviously engage our students, teach them real life learning, something they can take off into their future,” King said. “It’s going to be a home for a family some day in the future, it’s an 1,800-square foot approximate home, built right here on this beautiful property that’s nice and secluded yet in town.”

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
COMMUNITY PARTNERS — A home on Main Street Hill in Dexter being built by TCTC Building Trades students will come to fruition thanks to various community partners including various local professional contractors and other businesses.

“It’s real world, not only are they learning building trades in the classroom but they are applying it to a real world project but also working within the community,” she added.

Students will be working alongside professional contractors as they see the stages of development. “They are going to be experiencing different types of construction,” King said, “They are going to be erecting the walls on this house, they will be putting the siding on, they will be helping to place the trusses, all of it, hanging the drywall.”

“These students are going to see where things don’t go as planned and they are going to have to maybe change their course of action,,” she said, such as a change in supply delivery date.

“The things we can’t teach in the classroom, these students are going to be learning firsthand,” King said.

“I’m just looking forward to the kids getting to know what our Kiwanis Club does for the community and also have that community engagement,” she said.

Leavitt said when he came to TCTC four years ago there was a Building Trades program but homes were not being constructed and he wanted to get back to that. He said Philbrick joined the faculty and they shared a vision for hands-on learning. Soon the Dexter Sunrise Kiwanis stepped up and the 128 Main Street Hill project began.

“The project will start with a concrete slab, that will begin in August, then they are going to start breaking the ground up, doing all the framing,” Leavitt said, saying the construction timeline runs into 2025. While the students will not be doing all the jobs, “We are going to be side by side with the electricians when they do it so they can see that process as well, same with plumbing, heating, everything.”

He said industry experience is valued in Career and Technical Education and “if they get that experience now when they go out into the workforce they are that much more prepared for their career.”

“It’s very gratifying but it’s also the right thing to do for students,” Leavitt said. “ They need this experience, they need this training as well so they can be successful. This wouldn’t have been possible without all of the support of our partners.”

The TCTC director said interested students interviewed for positions on the building crew. He said 16 were in the program this year and eight have been accepted for year two.

“We went through an interview process to have the crew come back for next year,” Leavitt said. “When they found out they were going to be on the team they were very excited about it, they see the value with this. They are not sitting in a classroom all day long, they do a little bit of that but they also learn what they need to go out in the field and be successful.”

He said the younger builders may not yet realize what their efforts will construct. “When they drive by and see that house there’s going to be a lot of pride there,” he said.

“This wouldn’t be possible with the Kiwanis starting and driving this and having all the industry partners with us,” Leavitt said. “It’s going to be very successful and we hope to do this for many years to come.”

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