When the Victorian TV and Recording Studio at North Shore High School is complete two years from now, the district's students will have the opportunity for hands-on work in television production and possibly even from an Internet radio station.
North Shore alumnus Wyatt Aledort, now a junior at SUNY Oswego majoring in broadcasting, would have loved such a communications resource during his time at the school in Glen Head. But he -- along with other alumni and current students -- are seeing to it that future students will have that benefit: They've worked on summer construction crews to create it.
"It was a great experience," said Aledort, 20, of Sea Cliff, who has worked to help build the studio each summer since he graduated in 2010. "Over the three years, I learned plumbing, construction, electric, security alarms . . . I learned so much."
Construction of the Victorian TV and Recording Studio -- painted in Victorian colors with a circular gingerbread pattern on the wraparound porch and located at the entrance to the high school campus -- began in 2008. It is a collaboration among volunteer community members and North Shore students in the Long Island Studies program, one of five interdisciplinary humanities courses offered to seniors at North Shore High School.
It is the first building in the North Shore school district that will be heated and cooled using a geothermal energy system, which will be installed in the fall. The project is funded by a grant from the Viking Foundation, a nonprofit that raises funds for the district.
Technology teacher Bruce Fichtman led this summer's crew of seven. Those who participate -- often they are students in Fichtman's class, or former students -- receive a small stipend.
Starting in June, the crew worked five days a week. They helped paint the studio's exterior, install all ceiling and floor insulation, and put in electrical lines, outlet boxes and high-hat lighting fixtures. All work was supervised by residents of the district who are experts in their trades, Fichtman noted.
Eric Borchert, 17, started working on the studio when he was entering ninth grade. He graduated in June and plans to attend the University at Buffalo and major in civil engineering.
"It has been really great seeing it go from the ground up, because I know I helped build it," said Borchert, adding that he included the experience on his college applications.
Fichtman noted the "real-life" value of the project.
"Everything that they build and work on out here has to work," he said. "It is not simulation, and they have to build to code to meet all state and local building codes. They are learning all the trades associated with residential and commercial construction."