There will be a new-look wood shop and a new wood-shop teacher at the Barrington Middle School this year.
Cheryl DelSanto was hired by the School Committee last Thursday night, guaranteeing that there will be wood shop at the school. The industrial arts teacher comes to the middle school from Tiverton High School.
Work on repairing all the equipment and tools and replacing the dust collection system is expected to be done this week. Work was started several weeks ago, said Ron Tarro, finance director.
“Everything will be up to codes,” said Superintendent Michael Messore. “We weren’t sending any students in there without those repairs.”
DelSanto has more than 20 years experience in the industrial arts field, Messore said. She has taught middle school and high school students at Portsmouth and Bristol as well as Tiverton.
Her background includes woodworking, basic electricity, the principles of engineering and technology.
“She won the state bridge-building competition last year,” Messore said. “We are very lucky to get someone with her experience,” especially when it seemed like the position might be vacant with only a few days left before school started on Monday.
The wood shop program will be “pretty much what is has been to start,” Messore said. “We’ll be preserving the program while expanding into science and mathematics.”
“We want to expose students to those fields,” he said. “Students will be building projects while being exposed to other engineering opportunities.”
DelSanto brings with her to the position skills that will “embellish the program” and “bring more collaboration" with the wood shop teacher at the high school, added School Committee Chairman Patrick Guida.
The fact that DelSanto is a woman will certainly add "a different perspective" to the position as well, said Messore. It should certainly help to open the eyes of girls at the middle school to those careers.
The cost of repairs to equipment and the installation of individual dust-collection systems for each power tool will cost approximately $3,000, said Tarro. The combination of DelSanto’s salary and benefits and the repairs to the wood shop, therefore, will fall well within the $144,000 added back into the school budget at last spring’s Financial Town Meeting for wood shop.