As with elsewhere in the building, original details from the 1839 church were integrated into the newer addition, which was finished in 2012 and remodeled again to become ready to serve as a public eatery in 2014. When slate was taken down from the roof to make way for solar panels, it was saved and now covers one of the walls. Wood from the old floors was built into the café counter siding and the atrium flooring.
In addition to the commercial kitchen that serves the café, we have a second UTEC commercial and community kitchen that is available for rental use by food entrepreneurs, food trucks, and food producers.
After an ambitious renovation and expansion, finished in 2012, the striking former church that UTEC Lowell calls home is now the oldest LEED Platinum Certified building in the world. Inside these walls, we nurture the ambition of our most disconnected youth to trade violence and poverty for social and economic success. This focus on sustainability carries throughout the building, too. In the original 1839 structure, the former steeple now serves as a thermal chimneyas part of our passive cooling system. Throughout the 7,500 square foot addition, details from the old church building have been integrated into the new design. Next to the café, you can stand in the three-story indoor atrium and see where old meets new, with the historic church exterior and its stained glass windows on one side of you, and the newer café space on the other.
In the months prior to opening, UTEC staff and youth have been hard at work finding ways to make our mission, passion, and sustainability even more evident in the café. Youth in UTEC's Furniture Design Program constructed the café tables, bar, coffee station top, and window boxes from reclaimed pallets. The silhouettes you'll see on the walls illustrate some of our values. Newspaper articles collaged in the restrooms showcase some of UTEC's accomplishments over the years. Also in the works - more engraved slate near the entrance, to give a visual display of UTEC youth's successes as they translate to numbers.