FAIRFIELD — A training center for union carpenters and union contractors is expanding amid hopes that the region’s construction industry is making a post-recession comeback.
The Carpenters Training Committee for Northern California conducted a groundbreaking ceremony for the $9.6 million, 45,000-square-foot addition to its Fairfield center. The planned building at 800 Chadbourne Road is to house up to 30 welding booths, a mill cabinet shop, a general shop area and classrooms.
“We need to be prepared for the next up-jump in the economy,” said Bob Alvarado, executive secretary-treasurer for the group. “That’s what you’re seeing today. It’s not a gamble, it’s an investment.”
A few dozen people watched the ceremony on a partly cloudy, windy morning along a vacant, graded lot next to the existing training center building. Mixing together were people wearing suits and ties and people wearing T-shirts, jeans and hard hats.
“This whole thing is about the trade,” Alvarado said. “Not a very glorified career, but rewarding. It takes a special type of person to get into construction these days.”
It’s a life-long education, he said.
Training committee officials began talking about the expansion project in 2007, not long after opening the Fairfield center, Executive Director Randy Gourley said. Ten vacant acres sat next door. Then the economic downturn hit and put things on hold, he said.
“This has been a long time coming,” Gourley said. “In my opinion, this is a historic event.”
Mark Scherchel, vice president of Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction of San Francisco, welcomed the project.
“Being a general contractor, we need good people,” Scherchel said during the groundbreaking ceremony.
Lathrop Construction of Benicia is constructing the expansion building. The building is to be finished in April 2015.
“Essentially, what they get is double the capacity here,” Lathrop Superintendent Pete Peters said as he stood near the construction site.
The Carpenters Training Committee for Northern California provides apprentice, journey-level and other training for union carpenters and contractors in Northern California. It is governed by a joint labor and management trust board. It offers training classes in Fairfield, Hayward, Pleasanton, Fresno and Morgan Hill in craftspeople ranging from carpenters to hardwood floorlayers to millwrights to insulators.
Go to www.ctcnc.org for more information about the group.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.