CAD students design Whittier's new Allied Health Center

CAD students love to design and build spaces, so when three seniors had the opportunity to lead the design team for Whittier’s new Allied Health Center, they jumped at the chance. Earlier this year, Whittier received a $420,000 state grant to create a state-of-the-art center for health students that will open in the fall.

At the beginning of their senior year, CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) students Tyler Paolucci, Mackenzie Maguire and Jacklyn Verrette were assigned to steer the big job by their teacher  Scott Robertson. “I thought, ‘wow, I could really leave my mark in an area other than sports,’ ” said Jacklyn, who plays on the varsity softball team.

Over the next four and a half months, they transformed four existing classrooms into 6,000 square feet of labs, classrooms and offices for dental assisting, medical assisting and health assisting.

Along the way, they learned how to meet strict deadlines, stay within a budget and to present their plans and take feedback from teachers, school officials, engineers and architects.

“We had to keep revising our work over and over,” said Zach Doherty, a senior from Methuen who was on the team. “That was the most challenging part -- working on something for two weeks and then seeing it all change. That was my only gripe.”

“It was a giant balancing act,” said Tyler. “Just to add another sink and make it fit in with what we already had could be really challenging, and we had to constantly think about what the teachers wanted versus what they needed.” They also visited other technical schools to see how their allied health programs were laid out.

To add to the student’s challenges, their teacher Mr. Robertson was on leave with a back injury during the first few months of the school year and unable to teach them new software tools on an architectural design program needed to do the work. They often communicated with their teacher through email, sending him periodic summaries of their progress. CAD Instructor Jack Ulrich also guided them through the process.

“It strengthened us as a team to learn faster and work harder,” said Mackenzie. “We had to teach ourselves a lot of things about the program because it was still new to us.”

Liam McAllister from Newburyport was the only junior on the team. He helped design the interior health offices and sterilization stations. “It was fun to be able to bounce ideas around even with my lowly junior opinion,” he joked. “It was a great learning experience working with the seniors and they helped me learn a lot of the software.”

Other students who worked on the design were senior Ryan Mitchell of Haverhill who built 3D models of the project using Solidworks technology and senior Iyana White of Haverhill who designed the layout of the classrooms.

“I loved seeing it progress,” said Iyana.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” Tyler said.

“It was something I was happy to be a part of every day,” said Jacklyn. “It has really opened my eyes as to what it’s going to be like after high school.”




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