NMCC and PI Kiwanians celebrate construction of 35th Sinawik House

16 June 2012

AROOSTOOK COUNTY – Members of the Presque Isle Kiwanis Club joined students and employees from Northern Maine Community College last month at the annual NMCC hosted Sinawik luncheon to celebrate the near completion of the 35th home built through the collaboration between the two organizations.


LaNiece Winslow, president of the Presque Isle Kiwanis Club (far left) and Kathie Beaulieu, president of Sinawik (far right) congratulation the Northern Maine Community College students who received scholarships courtesy of their organizations this year. Scholarship recipients were, from left: Matthew Coon of Caribou, electrical construction and maintenance; Daniel Bernier of Frenchville and Julie Brown of Mapleton, both in residential construction; and Daniel Jones of Amity, plumbing and heating. Absent from photo: Kevin Clayton of Washburn, residential construction. - Contributed image

For over three decades, the College and Sinawik (Kiwanis spelled backward), a non-profit organization founded by the Presque Isle Kiwanis Club, have partnered to build a home each year that a local family contracts and purchases. This year, Ernie and Brenda Boykin of Presque Isle will make Sinawik 35 their retirement home in Chapman.

“This project is a tremendous asset to the students, with the greatest benefit to them being that it provides them a full hands-on work experience and clearly demonstrates all the steps involved in building a home,” said Frank Pytlak, NMCC’s residential construction instructor. “Taking part in building of the house also gives students a glimpse into how it will be once they transition from the classroom to the workforce.”

The Boykins served as the official hosts of the luncheon held in the Edmunds Conference Center. The event featured a barbecue lunch and tours of the new home currently housed in the college’s residential construction lab.

The project begins anew each year at the beginning of the fall semester. Preliminary floor plans are developed by the College’s computer-aided drafting students and approved by the customer.

This year’s Sinawik house is a 28’ x 50’ two bedroom, two bathroom ranch style home that has been built to exceed current energy code requirements. Students in the computer-aided drafting program worked to prepare drawings for the house that included the floor plan, exterior elevations, framing for the floor and roof, as well as plumbing, heating and electrical plans.

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Among those on hand to greet those touring Sinawik House #35, currently nearing completion in the NMCC residential construction lab, were, from left: Kathie Beaulieu, Sinawik president; LaNiece Winslow, Presque Isle Kiwanis Club president; Brenda and Ernie Boykin, the homeowners; Frank Pytlak, NMCC residential construction instructor; and Timothy Crowley, NMCC president. - Contributed image

“Working on the house design allows CAD students to not only prepare plans for a home currently under construction, but it also gives them the opportunity to work collaboratively with other trade students,” said Pam Buck, NMCC’s computer-aided drafting instructor. “The project continues to be an invaluable learning experience for everyone involved year after year.”

Once the plans are handed over, framing work on the walls, doors, windows and roof is completed by the first-year students in Pytlak’s program. They then step away from the project and let students in the plumbing and heating program, instructed by Al St. Peter; the electrical construction and maintenance program, instructed by Todd Maynard; and the welding and metal fabrication program, instructed by Dennis Albert, to do the “rough-in” work.

After the plumbing and heating conduits are installed, the wiring laid and required ductwork is in, the structure is inspected. After the inspection, the senior residential construction students come in and do the finish work, which is now in the finishing stages and has consisted of installing windows, doors and cabinets and completing the interior trim.

Aside from the barbeque lunch and tours of the home, the Sinawik luncheon featured the presentation of scholarships from Kiwanis to five students enrolled in the College programs that work on the structure. This year the students selected to receive scholarships were Daniel Bernier of Frenchville, Julie Brown of Mapleton, and Kevin Clayton of Washburn, all from the residential construction program; Mathew Coon of Caribou from the electrical construction and maintenance program; and Daniel Jones of Amity from the plumbing and heating program.

The partnership between NMCC and Kiwanis was forged in 1976 to provide students in several trade programs at than Northern Maine Vocational Technical Institute with a “real-life” practical experience, and as a way for Kiwanis to raise funds to invest in the local community.