The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, District Council #2 (Painters District Council #2) of St. Louis, Mo., has opened a new $3.5 million training center. Located on 10.5 acres at 18036 Eads Ave. in Chesterfield, Mo., the 75,000-square-foot Painters District Council #2 Training Facility more than triples the school’s previous space and unites classes once spread among five buildings in St. Louis. The larger space accommodates up to 425 students—a 30 percent increase—and houses greater innovative and hands-on programming. Designed to be the country’s leading training facility for the finishing trades, it will develop advanced skills for residential and commercial painters, industrial painters, drywall finishers, paperhangers and glaziers.
“In 2004, we began planning an expansion of our program to elevate the skills and abilities of St. Louis’ finishing trades workforce to best meet future needs,” said Tim Klotz, director of training for Painters District Council #2. “Today, our school is raising the national industry standard for technique and safety training.” A formal dedication is being planned for fall 2012.
The training center was funded by the 2,200 members of Painters District Council #2, the St. Louis Painting and Decorating Contractors of America/Finishing Contractors Association (PDCA/FCA), the Glaziers Local #513 and the Architectural Glass and Metal Association.
The facility includes six classrooms equipped with audio/visual systems, one blueprint room, bench work space for initial technique training, two mock residential/commercial structures for interior and exterior training, one mock steel structure for industrial training, one spray booth and one abrasive blast booth. A mock commercial storefront will be added in 2013 for glazier training, including glass and framing fabrication and installation, and more.
The mock structure for residential and commercial painters resembles a home, stands two stories tall and features 36 interior rooms with eight- and 12-foot ceilings, and varying window and door frame treatments. Its exterior is siding and exterior insulation finishing system (EFIS) with multiple cornice and shutter layouts. Drywall finishers train in a second two-story, 46-room structure with 8-foot ceilings and radius and splay work. After three rounds of practice on each surface, drywall is removed and replaced to create fresh practice space.
A two-story steel frame simulates industrial surface (interior and exterior) preparation and coatings application. Students spray on surface coatings and then use abrasive blasting to remove it. The structure also offers rigging and containment training.
Construction of the mock facilities was completed by apprentices and journeymen of other local construction unions, including the Glaziers Local #513, the Iron Workers Local #396, the Operating Engineers Local 513 and the Carpenters’ District Council of Greater St. Louis and Vicinity.
“One of St. Louis’ greatest assets is the skill and safety of our building trades workforce,” said Jeff Aboussie, executive secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC) AFL-CIO. “That requires continuous investment in training by unions and their building partners. The painter’s new training facility is great example of our commitment to delivering the best value in skill and safety to the buyers of construction services.”
In April, Sheet Metal Workers' Local 36 opened its $22 million training center and union hall at 2319 Chouteau Ave. Meanwhile, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562 is building a new $12 million training center.
The Painters District Council #2 apprenticeship program will increase from three years to four years, and include courses on safety; general painting; exteriors; drywall and wood finishing; wall coverings; abrasive blast; industrial coatings; decorative finishes; and more. Also available are Society for Protective Coatings (SSPC) certifications and journeyman safety training, such as Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10- and 30-Hour, lead abatement and licensure, scaffold and more.
Painters District Council #2 purchased the building from Findlay Industries in 2009, and remodeled its interior through 2011.
Founded in 1889, the Painters District Council #2 (www.iupatdc2.com) represents men and women in Eastern Missouri who work in the finishing trades of residential, commercial and industrial painting, drywall finishing, glazing, floor covering, and sign and trade show/convention display.
The St. Louis BCTC (www.stlouisbuildingconstructiontrades.org) represents 20 union construction trades in St. Louis and is dedicated to advancing the highest levels of skill, safety and productivity in the construction industry. Its members invest more than $30 million annually in training the St. Louis construction workforce of the future.