published: Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Project to give Avon Park firefighters new sleeping quarters
By BARRY FOSTER
AVON PARK - Avon Park has teamed with the Home Builder's Institute to have work done in the bunk rooms of the Avon Park Fire Department.
The HBI - best known for its work at the Avon Park Youth Academy teaching young men construction skills such as electrical, carpentry and plumbing - now has partnered with the HBI Veterans Program. That centers on re-educating returning war veterans in an effort to help ease them back into civilian employment.
"The program has been running for a couple of months now and will wind up at the end of June," said HBI Project Manager Tracy Mitchell.
There had been 17 individuals participating in the program. However, Mitchell said there have been four placements into the area job market.
Originally, Avon Park Safety Services Director Jason Lister had asked the Avon Park City Council for permission to build a practice wall in Hangar 53 at the municipal airport to let the crew have some hands-on experience. However, he later suggested that the expansion project at the fire department might kill two birds with one stone.
Plans are to convert what is now a storage room at the fire station into sleeping quarters for the fire captain and lieutenant.
"If the work goes beyond the end of next month, we will simply finish it up with some of our clients from the Avon Park Youth Academy," Mitchell said.
In the meantime, the HBI Veterans crew has been working for the Avon Park Housing Authority doing an $80,000 remodeling of a four-bedroom unit at Lake Tulane.
"They already have done the demolition work and now are pulling out gas lines," said Avon Park Housing Authority Executive Director Larry Shoeman.
"They are converting it to an all electric unit."
In addition to the electrical work, Shoeman said the Lake Tulane project will involve additional plumbing and carpentry work with the installation of a new tub and bathroom fixtures, flooring, lighting, air conditioning and cabinetry.
The crew also will be doing painting inside and out.
Shoeman said the Housing Authority bought materials, while the HBI Veterans Program provides the work.
The hands-on experience is done under the supervision of both HBI instructors and a general contractor for the Housing Authority to make certain all the work is done correctly and is up to code.
Shoeman said the HBI crew also earned a paycheck as well as job experience with their work.
The project is a joint effort between the HBI, Heartland Workforce and the City of Avon Park.
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