TAUNTON — Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School just got a big boost in funding for its culinary arts program.
Superintendent Alexandre Magalhaes said a $1 million grant given to the school through the Administration Baker–Polito Skills Capital Grant The move will go a long way towards providing BP with state-of-the-art culinary arts facilities as part of the new school construction project approved by voters earlier this year.
caféeThe million dollars is a drop in the bucket of the estimated price of 305 million dollars for New BP school building and campusset to open in 2026, but Magalhaes says the money will be put to good use and will help fund new equipment and expanded programming and help cover construction costs linked to the continued rise in property prices and services in the post-pandemic economy.
“We are thrilled to receive such a large grant for our culinary arts program,” said Magalhaes. “This will allow our students to learn in an industry standard facility and work on industry standard equipment, and it will also support part of the funding for the new building.
“With costs continuing to rise at the moment, that will surely help.”
New opportunities for students
Currently, BP has approximately 100 students enrolled in the Culinary Arts program, with room for 15-20 students per class. Magalhaes said the plan to build a new school is not geared towards a large overall increase in enrollment and that the new culinary arts center, with the help of the grant, should be able to accommodate four, possibly five more students per class.
The school currently has about 1,300 students enrolled and the new building is designed to accommodate a modest increase of about 100 students, for a maximum of 1,400 students.
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Magalhaes says the grant money will also be used to increase and improve offerings in adult evening classes, continuing education and summer programs for college students.
“The school that will be built is only designed for 100 more students than we currently have. So our programs will increase slightly, but not much,” he said.
Magalhaes says the new culinary facility, which will include a brand new Silver Platter Restaurantthe catering facility open to the public and run by the school’s students, will be adapted to increase learning and training in kitchen and dining room operations.
“The way it’s designed will allow us to do a lot more hospitality skills,” says Magalhaes.
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Magalhaes says there will be more opportunities for children to work in the baking and pastry arts, as space and training is currently somewhat limited in these disciplines. And Silver Platter students will continue to learn real-world skills in global restaurant and hospitality operations.
“So there are areas where we can increase training and have more hands-on opportunities than we have now.”
Financing of new equipment
While the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) will fund $125 million of the overall $305 million budget, the bulk of that funding goes to constructing the building and campus structure, leaving a small percentage for construction. furnishings and equipment. Vocational and technical category schools need increased levels of funding for specific equipment across a range of vocational/technical programs.
Grant money helps.
“And that’s one of the reasons we’re asking for as many grants as possible. All the grants that exist, we will apply and see what we can get,” Magalhaes said.
“MSBA gives you a very small percentage for furnishings, but in our case it’s more furnishings and equipment, and that would never meet the need here, it’s beyond what the state provides because our equipment is so expensive,” he said.
“Although, you know, we have good equipment that we’ll be moving into the new building, but there’s also equipment that’s been here with us since the building started, and our culinary arts program has had a lot of the same equipment for many years.”
No details yet
Magalhaes says planning and design for the new culinary arts space has begun, though few details are available at this time.
“Right now we actually already have the space stretching and it has been reviewed by our staff, our instructors, as well as our school building committee, for an opportunity to review it for s ensure it meets the needs of industry as well as the education of our students,” he said.
He said it’s too early to say exactly where the $1 million grant funding will be directed, but in line with the ongoing commitment to reducing costs, the money would be put to good use and serve as a boon to culinary arts students in the years to come.
“We take pride in what we do here with culinary arts offerings and in our restaurant,” Magahlaes said. “The kids do a great job with the food and pastries etc and run the restaurant. So we’re very proud of the work they do and to have customers come in so they can show off their talents.
“So I think we can just grow that, and we look forward to continuing our excellence in this department and providing new opportunities for students.”
Magalhaes also credited the Baker-Polito administration with supporting vocational/technical education in the state.
“Throughout their tenure, they have always supported vocational technical education. So we appreciate these efforts and recognize the need,” Magalhaes said.
According to a written statement, the award was announced by the Baker-Polito administration on Sept. 27 at an event to announce the recipients of the latest round of funding from Westfield Technical Academy’s Skills Capital Grant program.
“Since taking office, our administration has made significant investments through the Skills Capital Grant program to help more young people and adults gain the education, training and skills needed for successful careers in fast-growing industry sectors,” Governor Charlie Baker said at the event. . “We are proud of the impact these scholarships have had on students’ education and their future in the Massachusetts workforce.”
Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito added, “Through Skills Capital Grants, high schools, colleges and other educational institutions have modernized the way students learn and provided crucial experiential learning that serves students and employers well. We appreciate the continued support of our partners in the Legislative Assembly and look forward to the continued growth and expansion of the hands-on vocational technical training programs made possible by the Skills Capital Grants.