Skip to main content

Harison Place Project Provides Educational Opportunity for Area Youth


CAPTION: Casler Masonry’s Robert Brotherton speaks with a group of FEH BOCES students and instructors during their tour of the Harison Place project in downtown Malone.

North Franklin Educational Center students tour sprawling site

NORTHERN NEW YORK – For one day, a multi-million-dollar construction site became a classroom for more than 120 students from Franklin-Essex-Hamilton Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES).  

Citizen Advocates, along with Celia Construction, Weidmann Electrical Technology, Comfort Systems USA and Casler Masonry welcomed the students to tour the sprawling Harison Place site for a first-hand look at the transformational project replacing several blighted properties with safe, affordable and stable housing.

The juniors and seniors from North Franklin Educational Center were divided into tour groups focusing on building trades, electrical trades, heavy equipment and HVAC, with each group led by the subcontractors doing the work at Harison Place.  Students were able to ask specific questions about wiring, sprinkler systems, fittings and more, while also learning the practicalities of being part of a crew on such a large project.

“We had a tremendous day with the BOCES students and staff on site,” said Citizen Advocates’ Associate Director of Capital Projects Christopher Dumas.  “The kids asked great questions, were totally engaged and helped all of us appreciate the awesome nature of this project.”

In addition to Mr. Dumas, leading the tours were Citizen Advocates’ Chief of Staff Jennifer Dishaw, Celia Construction’s Dominick Celia, Weidmann Electrical’s Jake Pond, Comfort Systems USA’s Rob Edgar and Casler Masonry’s Robert Brotherton.

“At FEH BOCES, we strive to provide as many real-world experiences to our students as possible, so it was valuable for them to tour the Harison Place project and see a large-scale construction site in progress,” said FEH BOCES Executive Principal Shawn McMahon.  “We appreciated that Citizen Advocates and the contracting crew tailored individualized tours to let our Building Trades, Electrical Trades, Heavy Equipment and HVAC students learn about the project from the perspective of what they’re studying.  These students will certainly remember this experience as they are pursuing their future careers.”

“The goal of the Harison Place project has always been to bring the community together to create something spectacular for Malone—increase affordable housing supply, revitalize downtown and provide ready access to community services,” Ms. Dishaw said.  “Turning the construction process into an educational opportunity for our area students is a natural extension of that mission.”

In the works since 2017 and slated for completion by the end of 2023, Harison Place will feature 40 affordable and supported living apartments and five commercial spaces intended for community service organizations and other enterprises that complement existing businesses and community needs.  The building’s 19th Century-style façade includes a distinct flatiron shape designed to match the surrounding historic architecture.

In addition to providing a wide range of leading-edge clinical services, Citizen Advocates offers supports that promote individual health through stable housing, job training and transportation.