Job Corps students helped transform space for Community Action
ALBION – Community Action of Orleans & Genesee welcomed the public to see how the former bar for the American legion has been transformed into the offices for Community Action Transportation System (CATS).
There were lots of accolades and some disbelief during the open house today at 131 South Main St. The site isn’t recognizable from when it was a bar.
Community Action leaders praised students and instructors from the Iroquois Job Corps in Shelby for the the major makeover.
The students worked on site about 4,000 hours from July 21 through November. There were nearly 40 students involved with the project. The students are being trained in carpentry, brick masonry, painting and electrical.
Students did some demo work, rebricked windows, did framing and drywall, painted rooms, ran electrical wire, and had to coordinate work with the four building trades.
“This was so much better than being in the shop and doing mockups,” said Marty Bryant, the brick masonry instructor. “They see there are deadlines and there is weather to deal with.”
Students put two exterior windows in the back exterior brick wall at the the former Legion. They also put two windows inside for the offices the dispatch for CATS.
The wiring wasn’t labelled, and students had to trace wires. They disconnected wires that weren’t being used, and put in outlets and lights, and also ran cables for the Internet.
The Job Corps students did the work without billing Community Action, which ordered and paid for building supplies. Job Corps can do projects in the community for non-profits. This was the first job where students in the four building trades worked together at one site.
“We came in and it was just a shell,” said Mike Wisor, the carpentry instructor. “It was a great collaboration of all four building trades.”
The Job Corps transformed the former bar area at the Legion into three rooms with two to be used as the offices and a dispatch center for CATS.
The other “new” room has computers and tables for a classroom for at-risk students. They receive tutoring to help them earn their high school diplomas or an equivalency degree.
The new setup is much better for CATS, said Heidi Wyant, the transportation director.
She can see the fleet of eight buses and two vans from her office. (Thanks to the windows.)
Moving the buses to the former Legion parking lot also has eased some of the parking crunch at Community Action’s main office on East State Street.
Community Action acquired the former Legion about three years ago and opened the Main Street Thrift Store there in late 2014, after the store had been in the downtown for 25 years.
The Legion was given 18 months after the sale for continued use of the bar area. The Legion has since acquired the former Pap Pap’s Par 3 golf course on Gaines Basin Road in Albion, and now uses that site.
Community Action in June started renovating the bar area. Community Action also has been awarded a $358,124 grant for the former Legion to put on a new roof, add new HVAC units, front doors, upgrade plumbing and make some interior renovations.