EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 25, 2014

Greater Lawrence Technical students build home


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — LAWRENCE — When Bryan Kruszczynski was younger, his father would drive him around the city, pointing out different homes he had built and tell Bryan the stories behind the construction.

Now, Kruszczynski has a story of his own to tell. He is one of 42 students in the Construction Management Academy at Andover’s Greater Lawrence Technical School who has built a three-bedroom home from the ground up on Emmett Street in Lawrence. The students’ house has already been sold for $239,000.

“My dad graduated from (GLTS) in 1994 and he would show me around Lawrence and show me the houses he built,” said Kruszczynski, 17, a junior from Lawrence. “I’m hoping one day to do that with my kids.”

Under the tutelage of carpentry teachers Rich Kenney and Brian Van Clief, the students began their work in October and have been there working just about every school day.

The students were responsible for everything from the wood frame to the installation of the kitchen cabinets. The mechanical work was completed by electrical students who installed the electrical service, switches and lights. Plumbing students were responsible for the water and drain system and the hydronic heating system.

“I just feel so accomplished, building a whole house from start to finish,” said Adnerys Gonzalez, a 17-year-old junior from Lawrence. She is one of eight young women working on the home. Next year, there will be 15 young women in the program.

The project was made possible by the Greater Lawrence Revolving Loan Fund, which is managed by the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce. Chamber President Joe Bevilacqua said the fund has been serving the area about 40 years.

“They have built 15 houses in Lawrence and Methuen and they built the first affordable house in Andover,” Bevilacqua said. “It’s been a tremendous learning experience for the students. They don’t just learn about building a house. They also learn about the permitting process, the financing process, working with utility companies.”

The fund is overseen by a board of directors, which is made up community and business leaders. The head of the board is Marlene Hoyt, a senior vice-president at Enterprise Bank.

“It is so impressive what the school has done and it’s a pleasure to work with them,” Hoyt said.

Kenney thanked Jackson Lumber for supplying the materials.

School Superintendent John Lavoie said the students were prepared for the challenge.

“It is because of the educational preparation in shop and theory as 10th-graders that the students were more experienced and knowledgeable to meet the challenge,” Lavoie said.

Greater Lawrence Technical School is located in Andover and serves students from Andover, Lawrence, Methuen and North Andover.