BANGOR, Maine — Donald Goldman said he always has worked well with his hands, so it only makes sense that he would try to turn that into a career.
The 17-year-old from Dexter was among a group of about 20 students and future skilled workers from Tri-County Technical Center who traveled to Bangor on Monday to tour the fire department’s new Station 6 on Griffin Road.
“It’s a great program,” Goldman said of Tri-County’s building and trades curriculum. “Especially when we get to do stuff like this.”
Officials from Barr & Barr Builders Inc., the general contractor for the $2.4 million fire station project, invited students from the Dexter vocational institute to view the new construction, particularly its “green” elements.
The 8,878-square-foot building, which is scheduled to open on April 1, will be the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified, city-owned facility. The green measures include recycled rubber flooring, low-flow plumbing, high-efficiency lighting and natural-gas-fired boilers.
“One of the goals of bringing these students here is to show them that there are alternative ways of doing things,” said John Gay, building and trades instructor for Tri-County, which serves five high schools in Penobscot, Piscataquis and Somerset counties. “We’re excited to have this opportunity.”
Students got a close look at the three-bay, one-story building as it nears the final stages of construction. Subcontractors were busy painting, installing electrical wiring and finishing other cosmetic improvements.
Tom Perkins, Barr & Barr’s project manager, led the tour late Monday morning, pointing out aspects of construction and soliciting questions along the way. As Perkins touted all the new green initiatives available in the construction world, he cautioned the future workers.
“The reality is that your clients are going to have a budget,” he said.
Dave Watson, one of the contractors for Barr & Barr, experienced a bit of nostalgia during Monday’s tour. He was a graduate of Tri-County Technical Center 28 years ago.
“I remember doing things like this back when I was in school,” he said. “I know it seems to them like ‘What’s going on?’ but they’ll remember it later. I did.”
The facility replaces the old Station 6 across Griffin Road, which was built in 1987 but has been cramped for some time. In addition to the three-bay garage, the building also will have bunkrooms for six crew members, an office, training room, weight room and kitchen.
At one point during the tour, Gay seized on a teachable moment. When the students were touring the apparatus bay, a worker was sweeping the dust and debris that had gathered. It seemed like a menial job, Gay said, but every job is important.
“He’s keeping his job,” Gay said. “Remember, that will be you when you’re first hired.”
Goldman said he hasn’t decided which trade will best suit his talents.
“As long as I’m doing something, I’ll be happy,” he said.