The new Auburn High School opened twelve years ago this fall, so at this time in 2006, many projects were coming to an end. When the new school was unveiled, the community was in awe of both the structure and the grounds. Among the many details were two yellow brick pillars that supported ornamental lights on either side of the main entrance.

Over the years, the lack of good drainage within the columns caused many of the bricks to crack or spall off pieces. Most people wouldn’t even notice the slow decay, but Facilities Director Joe Fahey did. He notified Superintendent Maryellen Brunelle of the problem as it was becoming more serious and suggested Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School to fix it.

Tyler Gonzalez lays a brick facade during the recent TeamWorks competition that netted Bay Path a silver medal. [Submitted photo]

Brunelle called Bay Path Superintendent John Lefleche who got the project in motion. Fahey said, “I felt this was a project they could handle and could be proud of like the press box they helped construct a few years ago.” And, the budget with student labor is only around $2,500 which will come from the Parking Lot Maintenance Account.

The Masonry and Tile Setting program at Bay Path is run by teachers George Scobie and Michael Green. Scobie, as most know, is also the Chairman of the Auburn School Committee, and he was very happy to assist his own community.

Last Monday twelve sophomores and juniors from Bay Path came to Auburn High and began the removal of the brick facade on one of the columns. On Wednesday and under welcomed warmth and sunshine, they began laying brick. They also improved the internal drainage which should help their efforts last. The pillars’ cores were fine upon inspection, and only the anticipated facade replacement will be done.

The team includes students from Auburn, Charlton, Dudley, East Brookfield, Leicester, Oxford, Spencer, Southbridge and Webster. Among the workers is Southbridge’s Tyler Gonzalez, a sophomore who recently participated in the TeamWorks competition in Massachusetts with three other Bay Path students. Using the trade skills of masonry, carpentry, plumbing and electrical, they spent three days cooperatively building a small “house” and they netted a silver medal for their efforts and skills.

Auburn is grateful for the assistance from Bay Path. In addition to the two AHS projects, they renovated the School Committee room at the West St. District Offices, improved cabinets and lighting at the Auburn Historical Museum, and even added a second floor to Auburn Fire Headquarters many years ago.

Superintendent Brunelle told Auburn Mass Daily, “We have a tremendous collaboration with Bay Path, and it’s great that we can provide some real world experiences for their students.”