The college finalized a unique partnership last month with the South Peace Community Resources Society (SPCRS) that will see students from that program construct a new facility for Reconnect Youth Services, a program that aids struggling teens with mentorship, counselling, life skills and other services, as well as providing a connection back to the school system for those who have dropped out or are at risk of doing so.
The program usually builds single-family homes to sell on the open market, but Jeff Lekstrom, dean of trades, apprenticeships and technologies for the college, said NLC is very excited to be involved in a community project for the benefit of Dawson Creek.
“It’s a great community partnership program for us to be involved in,” said Lekstrom. “It’s a win-win for everybody – it’s a great program for the students, a great program for the community, and by the end of April we will have a nice building standing here for SPCRS to occupy and help the youth of Dawson Creek.”
He said the 10 students enrolled in the residential construction program will receive all of the training and meet all of the course requirements they would otherwise be required to meet, including their Level One and Two carpentry technical training, as well as hours credited towards their apprenticeships. The eight-month program started in September, and the project is expected to be complete by the end of April.
One of those students is Trevor Cinkant, 21, who said while he has been constructing houses for the last four years in Fort St. John, he has never worked with the insulated concrete forms the new Reconnect building is utilizing, so he is eager to gain that experience.
“It should be a good learning curve,” he said. “I’ve done forms and foundations before, but we used wood, never the styro-block foundation like this.”
He said obtaining his carpentry training and finishing his apprenticeship is his goal so that he can continue a career in residential construction.
“When you’re done, you get the finished project – the house is sitting there and you realize what you have just built, and it’s a great feeling,” said Cinkant on why that career interests him, adding that it is especially gratifying to know he is helping to build a facility that will be used to help youth in the community.
Besides having the support of the college, a number of local businesses and contractors are supporting the project by providing labour and materials for free or at cost.
“This is truly a community centre for youth, and they support we have received from local businesses has been amazing,” said Arden Smith, department manager for SPCRS. “It’s incredible the amount of people who have donated, and we are very pleased and honoured to be working with all of them.”
Smith added the Reconnect program was used by 127 youth in last fiscal year.
The South Peace Community Resources Society wished to thank the following individuals, businesses and organizations for their contributions to the demolition and reconstruction of the Reconnect Youth Services Centre:
Northern Lights College’s residential construction program (building construction)
Larry Moody (demolition and excavation)
R-Home Supply (building materials at cost)
Rentco (equipment rentals)
School District 59 (space for Reconnect during construction)
T J Tryon Land Surveying Ltd. (lot survey)
Total Oilfield Hauling (hauling equipment)
Big Valley Sand and Gravel (donated gravel)
R Moch Electric (electrical installation and materials)
Inland Concrete – (pouring concrete)
George Hauber (operator)
Rick Pavlis Trucking (hauling dirt)
Rotary Clubs of Dawson Creek (donation)
City of Dawson Creek (donation)
Hart Oilfield (donation)
In the interest of full disclosure, Mile 0 City notes its reporter, Matthew Bains, is a borad member for the South Peace Community Resources Society, which administers the Reconnect program in partnership with School District 59.