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Building More with Less: BVT Enters MSBA Accelerated Repair Program

Jul 28, 2015 03:54PM ● By Pamela Johnson

With guidance from their professional instructors, Construction Technology sophomores Jake Piotrowski of Uxbridge (left) and Jake Platt of Millville recently honed their technical skills by converting existing space into new Career Enrichment classrooms.

There are no coupon booklets for capital improvement projects, but Blackstone Valley Tech is nevertheless finding ways to clip costs on upgrades both above and below the school's roof.
In recent years, the 2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School added an Engineering Technology program, installed natural turf athletic fields, and completed two roof repairs without incurring debt for its 13 member-towns. The school now plans to further replicate its cost effective model by accepting a recent invitation to enter the Massachusetts School Building Authority's (MSBA) Accelerated Repair Program.
According to Superintendent-Director Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, entry into the MSBA Accelerated Repair Program enables Valley Tech to seek reimbursement for 53.53 percent of a preventive maintenance project on the fifty-year-old facility's roof. Valley Tech's share of the roughly $741,000 project will come largely from capital funds generated from MSBA reimbursements during the prior major roof repair project.
"Reimbursements from the upcoming capital improvement project, like those of the past, will likely be reinvested in Valley Tech's infrastructure," Fitzpatrick explained. "Each year, this cyclical return on investment helps us advance a quality education and improve our facilities within a single, consolidated budget." 
Capital improvements are also underway beneath Valley Tech's soon-to-be-repaired roof, as staff and students recently converted an Auto Body annex into Career Enrichment classrooms, and renovated the Multimedia Communications program to include studio space for audio/video production. By turning the renovations into hands-on projects for programs such as Construction Technology, Electrical, Plumbing, HVAC & R, and others, Valley Tech scaled back costs while providing students valuable real-world experience.

Similar cost-containment initiatives played a role in the recent unanimous approval of Valley Tech's Fiscal Year 2016 budget. Limited to a 1.65% operational increase, the FY16 budget relied on several facilities-focused initiatives to cut back on costs, including upgrades to the building's boilers, a comprehensive study of the plumbing system, and the school-wide consolidation of printers and copiers.
"Day-to-day savings on paper, ink, and other essentials may seem like drops in the fiscal budget. But when added to mindful budgeting and a thorough preventative maintenance program to ensure longevity of the district's infrastructure and capital investments, they certainly fill that bucket over time," said Jeff Koopman of Northbridge, Chair of the School Committee's Facilities Subcommittee.
Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School serves the towns of Bellingham, Blackstone, Douglas, Grafton, Hopedale, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northbridge, Sutton, Upton and Uxbridge. Located in the heart of the Blackstone Valley, Blackstone Valley Tech creates a positive learning community that prepares students for personal and professional success in an internationally competitive society through a fusion of rigorous vocational, technical, and academic skills. The school’s website is




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