NYC Union Carpenters Leave a Legacy at the Newly Renovated Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership

08.29.2022 Luke Marino

The Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership of The City University of New York underwent a 20,000 square foot renovation over the past few months from mid-March to August. With combined general carpentry and flooring work from five carpenters and a supervisor, the center was successfully completed just in time for the Fall semester. Renovations include a new Office of Student Success along with an Office of Academic Advising. The carpenters that made up this renovation were a mix of civil service carpenters for City College, and general union carpenters.

The renovations are funded completely by a large endowment entrusted to the college on behalf of the late Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and the son of Jamaican immigrants who grew up in Harlem and South Bronx and attended the school in his youth. Despite initial concerns about the timeline of the project, union carpenters worked efficiently to complete the project on schedule. Andrew Rich, the Dean of the Colin Powell School was not shy with his amazement at the work our members completed under the time crunch, “The NYC union carpenters bring their skill and profesionalism to every job. We had a vision and design that the carpenters and the entire renovation team executed. They produced an extraordinary space that far exceeds our expectations.”

The renovations will become a remnant of Colin Powell’s legacy. A legacy that can now be made possible through the work of our union. “Our sincere thanks to the carpenters for bringing their skill and professionalism to this job. It has been a pleasure to work with them on the project,” Rich said on behalf of the college.

Joe Schmid, a civil service carpenter from Local 157 and a shop steward with 15 years of experience at City College, proudly touted the excellent work performed by union carpenters on the project. “It’s been an intense project, but we worked together, used our training, our experience, and the project is finished on schedule for the students to use. Whether it was framing sheetrock or putting up a ceiling, it was all held to the union standard.”

Schmid also spoke on the uniqueness of the renovations, discussing how “every project is unique in its own way, but we were innovative and worked to repurpose a lot of the old furniture and incorporate it into the new center.”

Schmid wasn’t the only carpenter with great things to say. Jose Nunez, a union carpenter from Local 2287 with over twenty years under his tool belt, and current foreman on the project discussed how lucky he felt to be a part of a union that allows him to work on these projects.

“The union is great. I started out non-union, but then someone told me that I could build a future for me and my family because I could get a pension in the union. Without the union I wouldn’t be able to even think of retirement. To me, the union is the best. To anyone that wants a career, not just a job, I recommend the carpenters union.” Nunez did work installing the vinyl plank flooring for the center and took great pride in seeing the project near completion.

While the Colin Powell project is new, our relationship with City College is not. Union carpenters have worked on the college previously, both in a civil service capacity and with outside contractors.

Topping out at just over one million dollars on a two-million-dollar budget, the project finished very underbudget. This is an example of the superior craftmanship routinely conducted by the New York City Carpenters.

The Colin Powell School opens its doors Thursday September 1st, and is anticipated to become a campus favorite by both students and staff.