Franklin County Technical School   82 Industrial Blvd.   Turners Falls, MA 413 . 863 . 9561

FCTS Carpentry Students Build Shed for New Salem Community Garden

The whine of electric saws and the sharp crack of hammers striking nails echoed through the center of New Salem recently as carpentry students from Franklin County Technical School constructed a storage shed for the town’s Community Garden.

FCTS Carpentry teacher Michael Nobrega said the shed, which measures 8 feet wide, 10 feet long, and 8 feet high, is built based on the construction of a house. The idea is to for his sophomore students to learn the house-building process as they transition from doing small projects to larger ones next year as juniors.

“They learn a lot about the order of the steps in building a house,” Nobrega said. “A project like this really supports our curriculum. Next year they’re going to do large scale projects like houses or additions, or large scale municipal projects.”

The shed will hold equipment and supplies for the New Salem Community Garden, which is located behind New Salem Town Hall, and includes a ramp so a lawnmower can be wheeled in and out, or gardeners with disabilities can have access to tools and supplies. The sheds were pre-built by the students in the spring at Franklin County Technical School and the pieces transported to the Town Hall to be assembled.

Nobrega started the shed building project last year when the students built three of the structures. This year, they built two sheds.

“The shed program is a nice way to show the students on a smaller scale how to build a house,” he said.

Students liked tackling the shed project after building items like cabinets earlier this year.

“It’s a pretty simple project, but it gets you into bigger construction,” said Jonathan LaClaire, 16, of Erving. “You get the concept of doing the floor, the trim work and the framing.”

FCTS Carpentry Students Build Shed for New Salem Community Garden

Sandy Spiewak, New Salem Community Garden president and member of the town’s Agricultural Commission, said the project “was a huge success.”

“Mike and his students were visibly on site weekdays and weekends,” she said. “Mike is proactive, communicating with town officials and myself often. Working with Mike on design and logistics was easily completed. He was mindful to accommodate the needs of all, able and less abled when creating the ramp design. The shed has enhanced the garden by making it visibly more prevalent to the community and visitors as well as provided a storage unit for gardeners. Thanks to the FCTS, the community support and grant opportunities we are exceptionally pleased with this project.”

Spiewak said the shed was paid through grant money and funds raised at the town’s Old Home Day plant sale and raffle. The event is happening again in a few days with proceeds going toward improving the garden.

“We are having our 2nd annual plant sale and raffle next weekend at this year's Old Home Day,” she said. “We will continue to look for funding for more wish list items for the garden. It was such a pleasure completing this project with the tech school.”

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