PEPPERELL — The Council on Aging and local Garden Club cohabitate at the Pepperell Senior Center — and the two groups now have a little more space to share.
The two groups commissioned a custom-built storage/pottery shed from the Nashoba Valley Technical High School earlier this year, and they held a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 9 to celebrate its completion.
Speaking before a small gathering of seniors and Garden Club members, project coordinator Dianne Kazanjian said the shed would provide much-needed storage for both groups. She added that this effort benefited greatly from local support and was basically a positive experience for everyone involved.
“This project was a long time coming,” she said. “It was very much a community effort.”
Located behind a garden on the Senior Center lawn, the shed has 12-by-12 feet of closed-door storage, plus an adjacent 8-by-10 foot lean-to area that’s slated for use as a pottery area.
Having advocated for construction of the shed since last fall, Kazanjian said it had an estimated price tag of over $3,000, which the groups expected to cover through a combination of senior center building funds and proceeds from the Garden Club plant sales.
However Kazanjian said they were able to get a “very good” discount on materials from Holt Lumber, along with a “very nice” donation from the Pepperell Businessman’s Association and a helping hand from the Highway Department. They also were able to save a few bucks by using leftover siding from the Senior Center construction project; which incidentally made new building match the old one.
Looking back, Kazanjian said things really got rolling last September, when she contacted Nashoba Tech vocational director Paul Jussaume about the possibility of having the job done by students in the school’s building trades program.
Things fell into place from there and, speaking at the ribbon cutting ceremony just under a year later, Jussaume said this type of project is a great way for students to get real-world experience and also give back to the school’s member communities.
Pepperell resident and Nashoba Tech senior Brandon Johnson, one the carpentry students who helped build the shed, said while he’s taken part in at least 10 projects with Nashoba Tech, this one was very much a learning experience.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “I learned a lot about vinyl siding and different technique for putting it up.”
Senior Center director Sharon Mecurio gave high praise for work done by the Nashoba Tech students, adding that the construction facilitated some great intergenerational time between seniors and students during the late spring and summer.
Past that, she said the new shed addressed a real need at the center, and credited the students with holding up their end of the bargain.
“We have a beautiful building but storage has always been an issue,” she said. “They did a wonderful job and it matches the building perfectly.”
The Garden Club has about 50 members and maintains several public flower gardens around Pepperell, including Town Hall. It meets at the Senior Center at 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month, from September through June. The meetings are open to the public, but a $5 donation is requested. Yearlong membership dues are $15.
The Senior Center also hosts a variety of programs, and is open on Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.