NH CTE Center Gets 25 million Makeover

Officials recently broke ground on a technical school rebuild in Hudson, NH. The Wilbur H. Palmer Career and Technical Education Center, based in Alvirne High School, offers 17 programs of study. Students bus in from 15 other high schools to take part in programs on computer science, digital media, health science and technology and pre-engineering, among others. The center also runs several businesses that are open to the school community, including a convenience store, a restaurant, a preschool and a greenhouse and flower shop.

The new center will include 38,000 square feet of new construction as a first phase. Subsequent phases will encompass interior renovations covering 47,000 square feet.

Among the new additions, according to local reporting, will be a media studio, automated manufacturing and metal fabrication facilities, expansions to computer science and health science programs, and a culinary arts program that’s integrated with the finance and marketing programs.

The project is estimated to cost $25 million, with $8.2 million coming from local tax sources and $17 million from the state. However, material cost escalation and a labor shortage that cropped up when new building starts escalated in the state have led to construction delays and budget overruns. Right now, the project faces a possible $2.5 million shortage in state funding. However, the district said it hopes to resolve the funding shortfall over the next 18 months.

The center is named after the late Wilbur Palmer, who as vocational director at the high school spent two decades promoting the idea of constructing a dedicated vocational center. That finally received state funding in 1991 and opened in 1992.

The school is being built by Harvey Construction in Bedford and designed by Lavallee Brensinger in Manchester.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.