New school smell ready for Huot students on Monday

LACONIA — What does more than a decade of imagination, planning and hard work smell like? For students in several of the Huot Technical Center's programs, it will smell like a new school. The first half of the regional technical education center's reconstruction has been completed and will welcome students when they return from April Vacation on Monday.
"It feels great," said Scott Davis, director of the technical center, sitting in his new office. "We started looking at facilities in 2000. It's been a lot of time and a lot of energy from a lot of people to get where we are."
Davis's office, as well as the rest of the Huot Center's administrative space, is located in a two-story building constructed immediately to the south of Laconia High School, along Dewey Street. The building will house the following programs: Business Education, Careers in Education and the associated pre-school, Health Science and Technology, Human Services/Culinary Arts and the associated restaurant, Multimedia Communications, Law Enforcement, and the Career Center.
Once open, Davis estimated, the building will be visited by about 200 students each day, coming from the six different high schools the regional technical center serves.
Meanwhile, with the above programs vacating their former space in the old technical center located on the east side of Laconia High School, construction crews will focus on building, in their place, seven science labs. The technical center's Biotechnology, Plumbing & Heating, Building Construction, Automotive Technology, Pre-engineering and Manufacturing Engineering Technology programs will continue to be housed to the east of the high school.
Davis said the new building will be opened to the public on May 23 at an open house. In addition to the Huot reconstruction, the school's athletic fields are simultaneously being reconstructed as a best-in-the-region stadium. All work is expected to be completed in time for the coming school year, and Davis said a grand opening event will be held at a later date.
The new building has been constructed with the intention of welcoming members of the public, especially to visit the culinary program's restaurant or the pre-school affiliated with the Careers in Education program.
Putting the final touches on her room, pre-school teacher Megan Littlefield was looking forward to seeing the space filled with young children. "I'm excited to see the children's reaction to it," she said.
Donna Bedner, who also works in the Child Development Center, said, "It's wonderfully set up. It's the best opportunity anyone in early childhood education can ask for." It's rare, she continued, for a teacher to have the chance to help design a new space and fill it with new materials. "The 20 children that come here are going to have a wonderful experience," she said.

Megan Littlefield, teacher in the Huot Technical Center's pre-school, puts the finishing touches on her classroom. Half of the technical center's programs will move into a newly constructed building when students return from April Vacation. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Adam Drapcho)

Jennifer Mitchell, computer technician for Laconia School District, sets up one of about 65 computers installed in the newly constructed building for the Huot Technical Center, which will be populated by students when they return from April Vacation. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Adam Drapcho)