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Working together
Town and college team up to renovate building for youth centre

Aaron Beswick
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, December 9, 2010

INUVIK - William Storr was refurbishing a log house in Tsiigehtchic when he saw the posting.

NNSL photo/graphic

Pictured are students of Aurora College's Introductory Carpentry program who are working on renovating the building which will house Inuvik's new youth centre. In the front row, from left, are Robert Cockney, William Storr, Terance Allen, Charles Lucas, Merle Koe. In the back row, from left, are instructor John Walker, Lloyd Edgie, William Francis, Gary Edwards and Josh Esau. - Aaron Beswick/NNSL photos

Like most young men, he was considering careers.

Working with wood suited him, so he signed up for Aurora College's Introductory Carpentry program.

"Some days we look at each other and say, 'is it time for break yet?'" said Storr while operating a nail gun. "But it's 3:45 and it's almost time to go home. Time goes real quick."

Around him, nine other students frame out the walls for Inuvik's new youth centre under the guidance of instructor John Walker of Tuktoyaktuk. The students are learning to work from blueprints, framing out eight rooms, a kitchen and common area in the building adjacent to the college on Gwichin Road.

"This project is perfect for us and it's good for the community," said Rory Voudrach, industry, oil and gas co-ordinator for Aurora College.

With the old Mackenzie Drive youth centre in disrepair, Town Council sold it to the Inuvialuit Development Corporation for $240,000. Mayor Denny Rogers said the cost to renovate the old Inuvik Works building into a youth centre had been looking as if it would be well over-budget, when they were approached by the college.

The proposal: students provide the labour, the town provides materials and contracts out the electrical and plumbing work.

"The reason for the delays is that everyone was so busy here construction-wise, we couldn't find someone to do the work," said Rodgers, referencing that the original plan had been to have the renovations completed by last March. "Those that did bid were way too high."

The mayor declined to estimate how much the town is saving by teaming up with the college, other than to say it was a significant amount of money. The carpentry program wraps up March 22 and Voudrach expects the walls to be framed in, possibly sheeted as well depending on when the plumbing and electrical work gets done.

"It takes a bit longer because we are teaching while we are doing the work - taking the theory from the classroom and applying it to a real job site," said Voudrach. "It's great for our students because they get real experience and will learn the relationship between contractors and electricians and plumbers. Our students will come out of this program employable and there is plenty of work out there for them, especially around Inuvik, when they graduate."

The program, from which no students have dropped out, is funded by the Building Inuvialuit Potential Society.

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