hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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June 19, 2014

Whittier Vo-Tech students build pergola for seniors

The residents of Julian Steele senior housing on Washington Street will soon have it made in the shade, thanks to a group of students from Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School.

The residents were hoping to get a gazebo or other outdoor structure that would serve as a gathering spot for cookouts and other events. The Haverhill Housing Authority, which operates Julian Steele, put its Tenant Council in touch with Whittier, which has experience building just the kind of structure residents were dreaming of.

But first, Tenant Council members paid a visit to Penacook Place on Water Street to see the pergola that Whittier students built there last year.

“They asked if we wanted a gazebo or a pergola, and we said a pergola as we could fit more people in it,” said council member Bob Lockhart. “We want to use it when we have cookouts and other outdoor events. People on the second floor don’t have porches so they’ll be using the pergola as well.”

“I thought the kids did a marvelous job,” Lockhart added. “It’s very nice and the pavers are beautiful. They did a really good job.”

A sturdily built piece of craftsmanship, the 16-by 24-foot pergola was built over the winter inside Whittier’s carpentry shop. It was disassembled then reassembled on site.

“The kids built it on cold days in a warm shop over a six week period,” said Whittier carpentry instructor Earl Corr. “When the weather broke, at the end of March, we trailered it to the site, dug holes, poured concrete footings, and assembled it.”

Students finished the project last week and residents have already begun to use it.

Students in Whittier’s masonry program, lead by instructor Raymond Morneau, built a patio of cement bricks in a basket-weave pattern along with a snake shaped walkway made of the same kind of bricks.

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