Impressed: students enjoying new Huot Center

LACONIA — Despite the glorious day outside, the students inside the newly opened Huot Regional Technical Educaiton Center building earlier this week didn't seem at all dismayed about their indoor plight.
By 9:15 a.m. the smell of fresh baked chocolate cookies wafted from the kitchen of the culinary arts center, and Emmily Morin of Laconia is busy prepping for her block of cooking.
"I love it. It's just so much more spacious," said Emmily who will attend Johnson and Wales University next year.
After three years of planning and construction, students started classes in the Huot 10 days ago. The new wing houses the Meredith Village Savings Bank Culinary Arts Center, the Early Childhood Education Program, the Health Science and Technology Program, the Multimedia Communications Center, and the Business Education Center. There is also a dedicated space for Criminal Justice Program taught by the Laconia Police Department.
Renovated space at in the older portion of the Huot Technical holds a completely renovated Pre-Engineering and Manufacturing Program, Building Trades, and the Automotive Program. Five new science labs will be built over the summer in part of the old Huot.
In the Health Science and Technology class, students were hard at work caring for two "patients." Two students from the Multimedia Communications Department were filming them for the upcoming promotional video for the Huot Center classes.
For this particular block of Health Science and Technology, most of the students are seniors and will only get to enjoy their new learning space for about six more weeks.
Hannah Chase, a senior from Gilmanton, will take her Licensed Nursing Assistant test on May 21. She, Emily Greenwood of Tilton, and Katy Pilling of Gilford, and Cassie Kimball of Laconia will be either going on to careers in nursing or looking for jobs as LNAs.
The four love their new building and wish they had more time there. "There's so much new space," said Chase. "Students shouldn't miss this opportunity."
Business Technologies seniors couldn't say enough good things about the new computer banks.
"It's better than the old ones. And they're all clean and shiny," said Josh Rawson of Laconia.
Rawson has taken every business course he could during the past three years. He said yesterday he is most enamored of the smart boards in every class that help with daily lessons.
"We appreciate what we have right now," he said.
Over in Pre-engineering and Manufacturing, juniors Scott Compton and Garrett Guilmett are working on the Key to the City.
Guilmett said Mayor Mike Seymour approached the class with the project that involved designing, engineering and manufacturing the key.
Compton explained that previous to the computer assisted drafting and software that communicates to the mill, the students would have had to hand-write 574 lines of code to get the mill to make the piece. He said with the old equipment, the key would have taken them a month to design, whereas now it takes only hours.
Some of the challenges the two are working to overcome are the tabs that connect the key itself to the aluminum plate from which it is cut. Guilmett demonstrated by running his finger over the cuts to show where the key was connected to the plate and wasn't smooth enough for their standards.
"The battle now is to get a design with no tabs," said Guilmett as he stared down at one of the six keys that just haven't met the grade yet.
Guilmett and Compton both have the desire to become engineers and both have been in Pre-Engineering at the Huot since their freshman years.
As to the renovated space and the new computers, Guilmett quipped that it doesn't take "a year to warm up the computers."
State of the art equipment furniture and furnishings were one of the goals of the $16 million Huot Center and Laconia High School upgrade. And for the students who were in school on a beautiful spring day, honestly, they really didn't seem to mind.
When asked if one of them could pass on a word to future generations who come through the area's schools, Nick Salanitro of the Culinary Arts Program said to "get the word out. It's going to be great."