Project Led by Seniors from Georgetown, Haverhill
and Merrimac with Assistance from Newburyport Junior
HAVERHILL — After several months of hard work, final design plans for Whittier Tech’s new Allied Health Center are complete thanks to Computer Aided Drafting students. Earlier this year, Whittier received a $420,000 Skills Capital grant to create a state-of-the-art Allied Health Center for dental, medical and health students, which is slated to open in the fall.
Under the leadership of CAD seniors Tyler Paolucci, of Georgetown, Mackenzie Maguire, of Merrimac and Jacklyn Verrette, of Haverhill, students have been hard at work transforming four existing classrooms into 6,000 square feet of labs, new classrooms and offices.
“I thought, ‘wow, I could really leave my mark in an area other than sports,’” said Verrette, who plays on the varsity softball team, after CAD teacher Scott Robertson assigned her as one of the students to steer the project.
Throughout the design process, students have learned how to meet strict deadlines, stay within a budget, present their plans and accept feedback from teachers, school officials, engineers and architects. The group also visited other technical schools to see the layout of their allied health programs in order to generate ideas.
“We had to keep revising our work over and over,” said Zach Doherty, a senior from Methuen who is on the design team. “That was the most challenging part — working on something for two weeks and then seeing it all change.” “It was a giant balancing act,” added Paolucci.
“We had to constantly think about what the teachers wanted versus what they needed.” To add to the students’ challenges, Robertson was on leave with a back injury during the first few months of the school year and unable to teach them how to use the new software tools on an architectural design program. Students often communicated with Robertson through email, sending him periodic summaries of their progress.
Jack Ulrich, the second instructor in the shop, was also instrumental in guiding students through the process. “It strengthened us as a team to learn faster and work harder,” said Maguire. “We had to teach ourselves a lot of things about the program because it was still new to us.”
Liam McAllister, from Newburyport, was the only junior on the team. He helped design the interior health offices and sterilization stations.
“It was fun to be able to bounce ideas around even with my lowly junior opinion,” he joked. “It was a great learning experience working with the seniors, and they helped me learn a lot of the software.”