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Westfield Voke to build new Park Square pavilion

Date: 5/18/2011

May 18, 2011

By Debbie Gardner

Assistant Editor

WESTFIELD — The Park Square pavilion project is moving forward again, with a little help from the students and faculty at Westfield Vocational Technical High School (Westfield Voke).

Standing among the industrial-size saws, jigs and finish sanders in the high school's Construction Technology Department, Mayor Daniel Knapik announced the newly forged partnership with Westfield Voke during a press conference on May 12. At the same event, Knapik said Lynch Construction had been awarded the contract for all other aspects of the Park Square enhancement project.

Lynch's final bid for the enhancements, excluding the pavilion, is expected to save the taxpayers more than $10,000 on the initial estimate.

According to materials provided at the event, the city had put the Park Square enhancements and pavilion construction projects back out to bid following an examination of the first round of project estimates on April 11. According to Purchasing Director Tammy Tefft, though many of those initial bids came in under budget, the costs associated with the pavilion were above what Knapik wanted to see spent on the project.

At that point, Ward Two City Councilor James Brown approached Knapik about partnering with the city's vocational high school to build the pavilion.

"Even on the re-bid, the [pavilion] costs did not get within the budget amount that was acceptable," Knapik told Reminder Publications. "That made the decision to do this through the schools and include the students easy to make."

Brown publicly thanked the mayor for acting on his suggestion during the press conference.

"When I came down here a couple of months ago to discuss the possibility of using the students [on the project] ... I found [they] were not only ready, they had ideas and plans and material ideas," Brown said. "They are ready to build [the pavilion] and maintain it as part of the construction class."

Preliminary drawings unveiled at the event show a structure that will closely mirror the design of the gazebo located in Grandmothers' Garden, which is across the street from the school.

Brown said he plans to raise funds to create a plaque listing the names of the students involved at the project and have it installed at the Park Square pavilion to commemorate their contribution to the city.

Stefan Czaporowski, principal at Westfield Voke, sees tremendous benefits for the students in this construction partnership.

"It's an awesome opportunity to give back to a community that gives so much to us," he said. "The whole shop will be working on will be a true group effort."

Rob Rivist, a freshman at Westfield Voke, said he thought Brown had a "great idea" when he brought the pavilion project proposal to the school.

"I'm looking forward to working on it," he said.

Construction Technology instructor Matthew Gomez said the timeline for the project has not yet been finalized, as there is some additional computer aided design training his students need to complete before they can begin working on final plans for the pavilion. He hopes to get the students started on construction of the project sometime in the fall.

Debbie Gardner can be reached by e-mail at

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