Training, Education Paramount at Little Red Schoolhouse

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The Little Red Schoolhouse, Morton Grove, Ill.

On September 12, Mechanical Hub celebrated with Xylem’s Bell & Gossett as they officially opened its newly renovated Little Red Schoolhouse (LRS) in Morton Grove, Ill., with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The Schoolhouse has been a premier training center for professionals in the hydronic heating and cooling and plumbing industries.

The cleaner, brighter, state-of-the-art training facility has undertaken an extensive remodeling project that has transformed the Schoolhouse into an interactive learning environment where professionals receive hands-on training to better understand how the entire HVAC system works. “There is a learning opportunity everywhere in the schoolhouse,” says Mike Licastro, director of training.

Mike Licastro

Opened in 1954—with the guidance from one of the founding fathers of hydronic heating, Gil Carlson—the training center has seen nearly 65,000 people—or approximately 1,000 per year—come through its doors. “Yes, you can train online, but it’s worth the trip for live demos,” says David Everhart, President, Bornquist Inc.

Bell & Gossett offers free seminars and is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). The Little Red Schoolhouse sets itself apart from other educational facilities in the industry by emphasizing a systems-based concept of teaching, rather than focusing on product features and benefits. “We train on systems,” says Licastro.

New technology figures prominently into the redesigned training center, including a redesigned mechanical room with various pieces of equipment to simulate system design and installation. Such innovations provide attendees new and exciting ways to gain valuable knowledge about hydronic and steam systems. “Today is a special day. To update this facility and bring it to the next level, I’m excited,” says Jim Burns, president of manufacturer’s rep, Mulcahy, Egan, Minn.

Bell & Gossett has reinforced its emphasis on hands-on training with dedicated space for three new demonstration areas that feature functional displays of equipment for a variety of commercial and industrial applications, including variable speed controller technology, plumbing products and service and maintenance. “There is interest from the industry and we just opened the doors for education through renovated training center. At Little Red Schoolhouse, we can show attendees the proper use of water through plumbing and hydronics systems,” says Licastro.