Photo shows the major addition being built at 20 Robbin Road in Canton by BHR Construction students. Photo by Judy Bass
By Judy Bass
On a recent Friday morning in early June, there was hardly a sound on Robbin Road in Canton, a leafy, bucolic street in Canton not far from the center of town. But something very exciting was quietly happening there.
An open house was underway at 20 Robbin Road, which has been the home of Mark and Rose Matanes since 1975. (They are the original owners.) The public was invited that morning to view the ongoing construction at the Mataneses’ house being done by students in Construction Tech from Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton
When the project is finished sometime around Christmas 2019, the house will be significantly expanded to include a mudroom on the lower level of the addition with an office above it, a spacious room off the back that leads to a porch, plus a two-car garage with a huge bedroom over it that features a full bath and a walk-in closet.
“This is an amazing experience for our students,” said Blue Hills Principal Jill Rossetti. “The construction industry is booming and our students have learned to read and follow blueprints and comply with building codes all while applying hands-on math skills such as measuring, cutting, and calculating angles while learning about various types of wood, framing, roofing, siding, installing doors and windows and so much more. The students’ construction experience under their master teachers’ watchful eye while building this addition for the Mataneses gives them the confidence to further their education or apprentice and make a living that fits their lifestyle. We are so proud of them and can't wait to see the finished work when the project is completed next year.”
Rose Matanes said that she and her husband chose Blue Hills students to construct this addition because their neighbors had students from the school do work on their home. That project was done very successfully with outstanding results.
Both of the Mataneses are retired teachers, so they fully understand the importance of having young people apply their knowledge and skills in a real-world situation as the Blue Hills students are doing.
“We have no problem contributing to the learning of students,” Rose Matanes said.
A cornerstone of technical education at Blue Hills and at other vocational high schools like it in Massachusetts is having students use their newly-acquired ability in actual settings beyond the classroom. For that reason, each school year, homeowners in the nine communities in the school’s district – Avon, Braintree, Canton, Dedham, Holbrook, Milton, Norwood, Randolph and Westwood – are allowed to submit applications to the school for construction projects to be done on their property by the students such as additions to existing homes, sheds and outbuildings, decks and so forth. There is a $250 deposit required for the application.
Projects are chosen by Blue Hills administrators, department heads who are involved and the Blue Hills Regional District School Committee based mainly on their educational value and duration.
Some conditions set by Blue Hills must be met. According to the agreement posted on the Blue Hills web site (www.bluehills.org; look under the About tab on the home page and find Public Notices on the drop-down menu), all work must be within the scope of the curriculum of the Construction program; applicants must have resided in one of Blue Hills’ district towns for at least five years; they must have clear title to the land; plus be able to comply with other guidelines established by Blue Hills.
The students are supervised by Blue Hills Construction teachers Ron Eby and David Blakeley. All work is done in compliance with applicable building codes.
The Blue Hills students who worked on the house include Ryan Albergo, Nicholas Burnham, Brendan Curvin, Dario Deane, Jasen DiLetizia, John DiLetizia, Malik Dunn, Andrew Flavin, Hunter LaRocco, Michael Magoon, Jr., Mason Murphy, Devin Polson, Evan Presutti, Michael Saleda, Andre Teixeira, Jr., Wesley Charles, Casey Dedos, John Devore, Joseph Geaney, Elijah Hay, Edmund Holmes, Mike Jean-Baptiste, Johnathan Lejeune, Matthew Milano, Raul Muriel Jimenez, Cameron Norman and Brianna Sarofeen.
Both Mataneses indicated that they are extremely pleased with the caliber of the work done thus far, as well as the professionalism and demeanor of the Blue Hills students.
“Fantastic!” exclaimed Rose Matanes.
Her husband enthusiastically agreed. “This is beyond my expectations,” he said. “What a great job they’ve all done.”
For more information about Blue Hills Regional Technical School’s construction projects, contact Vocational Director Michelle Sylvia at 781-828-5800 x224.