DERRY — Pinkerton Academy will continue produce maple syrup, thanks to a new sugarhouse.
Pinkerton is building a new sugarhouse on its lower campus, part of the upgraded Career and Technical Education program at the Derry high school.
The sugarhouse will be operational by the next maple season, according to CTE director Jack Grube.
A previous sugarhouse was demolished once construction began on the school’s new CTE facilities. A temporary sugaring operation took over a former greenhouse last year while new buildings were being built.
Those new buildings include a new animal science/cosmetology building, and another two-story building on the upper campus all made possible through $7.8 million in state funding to help schools upgrade their career and technical facilities.
The original foundation of the former greenhouse was used as part of the new building. Students also helped design the building with the help of state and local sugar producers.
“We used people who knew sugaring, they helped us with what we should build, how we should build it,” Grube said. “We hoped to use more of the old building, but we saved the foundation and built up from there.”
Pinkerton has made maple syrup on campus for a long time.
“I came here in 1976 and it was an established program by then,” Grube said. “It goes back to probably the ‘40s and ‘50s, the heyday of the agriculture program here.”
Students tap about 150 trees as part of the program. Grube said Pinkerton has many good neighbors in the area that allows the school to tap their sugar maples.
Many of the gallons produced each year are sold to staff members.
Some Pinkerton trees had to be cut down to make way for the new CTE buildings, Grube said. Eventually, more maples will be tapped.
The maple syrup program also invites local children and other groups to come to Pinkerton to tour the sugarhouse and see how syrup is made.
Grube said the new building was designed to make those tours more accessible.
Once sugaring season arrives, culinary arts students at Pinkerton will be able to use the syrup for their studies in the kitchen.
Grube said it’s a cooperative department with many resources and programs supporting each other.