Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing students Stephen Hall of Millbury, Tabitha Young of Uxbridge, Benjamin Gardner of Upton, Sophie Pigeon of Hopedale, and Andriana Jolie of Hopedale
Auto Collision students revamp cop car
Until the lights flash and the siren sounds, it will be tough to identify the Blackstone Police Department’s 2009 Ford Explorer as an emergency vehicle. That’s a good thing, according to Chief Ross A. Atstupenas, who recently partnered with the Blackstone Valley Tech Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing program to give the Explorer a new and more discrete appearance.
Revamping the 2009 Explorer is one of the latest projects taken on by Blackstone Valley Tech as part of its ongoing assistance to municipal and non-profit organizations within its 13 district-towns. Always on the lookout for ways to save public dollars, Chief Atstupenas partnered up with BVT and turned the vehicle refurbishing into a learning opportunity for students.
To transform the Explorer into a more discrete police vehicle, Auto Collision Team Leader Dave Beaudreau led a team of students in first removing the Explorer’s police-themed decals and lights. With the decals gone, the entire exterior was washed with an adhesive remover before being removed and completely refurbished. All dents and scrapes were repaired and the vehicle’s exterior was refinished where necessary, reassembled, and cleaned and polished for delivery.
At roughly 50 hours, the project labor alone is estimated to have a value of $2,500. According to Beaudreau, teaching students about the project’s real-world cost is an important way to show them the value of their Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing training.
“There are high-wage jobs out there for our Auto Collision graduates,” Beaudreau said. “It gets the students excited about the future to know that they’re capable of doing work that could easily earn them $50 an hour.”
Beaudreau, his students, and several Valley Tech administrators recently gathered outside the Auto Collision garage to present the refurbished vehicle to Chief Atstupenas and Patrolman Kevin Luis. Seeing the Explorer for the first time since it was dropped off at BVT, Chief Atstupenas offered the students some high praise.
“It looks like a brand new vehicle,” he said. “They did a very nice job. It’s impressive.”