City weighs $700k plan to open EHS vocational school next year
By Brendan Clogston
The City of Everett is looking to go official with its vocational school programming, with a $700,000 plan under development to build out 10,000 square feet in the schools and bring six Chapter 74 vocational programs online for next school year. The City Council held a special meeting Monday night to hear a presentation from Mayor Carlo DeMaria, members of the School Department, consultants Charlie Lyons and Roger Bourgeois from Lyons Consulting and architect Greg Christensen from CBI Consulting about the process the city has already gone through with the state to get Chapter 74 approval for its vocational programs, and to begin the process of creating a financial order to begin construction.
According to Assistant Superintendent Charlie Obremski, while the city has not had a “true” vocational program in about 20 years, the time had come to bring it back and address a changing job market. “With the changing job market and the fact that many of our students can no longer afford to go to college, the time is right to make this move and bring back Chapter 74 vocational,” said Obremski.
DeMaria called the program a way to retain more skilled workers in the city. “Not every kid can go to college these days, and there are so many good jobs out there that we’re losing a lot of skilled people,” said DeMaria.
Initially, the program would be for Everett students; eventually, if there were space, the city could look into enrolling students from other districts, something that could potentially bring some revenue into the city. The plan would expand four currently existing programs – carpentry, culinary arts, health assisting, and machine tool technology – and create two new programs in keeping with the careers likely to be created by the Wynn Boston Harbor development: marketing and hospitality management. Making the existing programs Chapter 74 programs would allow students to spend more time in vocational school and focus on a trade.
“The amount of time students can spend in a role in the same room is limited,” said Obremski. “Once we go to Chapter 74, they’ll be able to spend more than one period. They’ll be able to spend multiple periods in a row in there and be able to come out with a certificate that will help them in the job market.”
Renovations of varying intensity will be required for each program. Two of the programs are more or less ready to go: culinary arts and health assisting, with the latter only requiring a few new sinks to the cost of $9,120. Carpentry and machine tool tech need to have their spaces expanded, as both are under the minimum square footage required by the state (carpentry being only about half as big as required). A hospitality space will be created by taking down a Sheetrock wall between two classrooms. A simulated front desk and hotel room will be created for students to practice in. The new marketing program will also feature a state-of-the-art computer lab. In all, the cost of the reconfiguration and renovations will be:
- Carpentry: $51,862
- Machine tool technology: $157,539
- Print shop: $13,600
- Marketing: $60,950
- Hospitalist management: $32,950
Furniture and equipment costs comes to $110,290, mostly for marketing and hospitality, which, because they are new, don’t have any existing equipment. Those costs break down to:
- A smartboard: $7,500
- 43 desktop computers: $64,500
- 65 computer desks: $26,000
- F & E contingency: $12,290
Additional expenses include:
- General conditions: $33,087
- Insurances: $3,309
- Bond: $2,206
- Fee and overhead: $33,087
- Escalation (starts June 2018): $7,114
- Design and estimating contingency: $44,116
- Additional construction costs: $122,919
The City Council will hold a special meeting next week to get a jump on the funding process for the project. The proposal will be funded through the Capital Improvement Plan.
“We only have six or seven weeks to actually do this construction before we start school for next year, so it is very time sensitive,” said Obremski.