Published DateLACONIA — After hearing a presentation from Lakes Region Community College Vice President of Academic Affairs Tom Goulette, the School Board last night decided by consensus to allow the college's culinary arts program to use the Huot Regional Technical Education Center kitchen a for its cooking classes.
Goulette said he needed kitchen time for nine students in the Baking and Pastry Technologies, 10 students for Cake Decorating, 12 students for World Wide Cuisine, and 11 students from Bakery Production.
LRCC will use only the kitchen area of the Huot Center on the Laconia High School campus and the classes will be held in the late afternoon, after the high school and the Huot have ended their day.
Goulette said the LRCC students will bring their own supplies, will wear identification tags while in the school, and will be issued parking stickers for their cars.
"We know the rules of the Huot campus" Goulette said, emphasizing that LRCC students would be "good guests."
The sudden move became necessary when the LRCC Culinary Program was told to vacate the Belmont Mill after the town discovered some structural problems with the fourth floor decking, the site of the Culinary Program and the Food For thought Cafe.
Board Member Scott Vachon said that LRCC has always been a great partner with the Huot Center and Laconia's school in general. "We should do what we can," Vachon said.
School Board Chair Joe Cormier said the Huot Center has been looking for ways to expand the relationship between the two schools and he thinks allowing the LRCC Culinary Program to operate temporarily from the the Huot will provide that opportunity.
Board member Mike Persson, who is also on the LRCC Board of Directors, said he would recuse himself from any vote but wanted to make sure that LRCC's insurer and the Laconia School District insurer were in agreement.
Goulette said LRCC's attorney has given him a draft memorandum of understanding and the School Board asked Superintendent Bob Champlin to run it by district's insurance carrier and gave him the authority to sign it if it was acceptable.
Goulette also said LRCC was willing to pay rent — much like it did at the Belmont Mill — however the actual money portion of the arrangement has yet to be completed between the parties.
Persson also wanted to know if the individual sending schools to the Huot Center needed notification and Champlin said he had been in communication with them.
"We want this to be transparent," Champlin said. "If we have a consensus we'll make it happen."