BILLERICA -- "Wait, I thought I was visiting a high school, not a Boston Road strip mall," visitors at Shawsheen Valley Technical High School might say this week.
A brick Dunkin' Donuts greets them in the masonry shop.
A "Now Hiring" sign is out front, along with a "Tap Into Maple Flavor" advertisement displaying an iced coffee and a croissant sandwich. A handicapped sign reserves parking at the entrance.
But no one is serving coffee or donuts.
That is, until this Sunday's annual open house, when students will show off their project to the community -- and serve free coffee and Munchkins to visitors out of the walk-thru window.
Students in the masonry shop built this model Dunkin' in the last three weeks.
"I think the kids nailed it this year," masonry instructor Jim Bonito said of the annual class project.
"They see not only the real-world application of the building, but some of them work at Dunkin' Donuts so they now realize if it wasn't for the masons, they would be standing outside working there," he added.
In past years, masonry students have completed scaled replicas of famous buildings, including the Washington Monument.
This year, students rejected Bonito's idea of a historic building -- such as the Old South Meeting House in Boston. Instead, the majority of students wanted to replicate their regular coffee shop.
Bonito searched images online, and chose a brick Dunkin' Donuts with a patio.
"It's pretty much all the work we do in here except for concrete: Hardscape, tile, block, brick," he said. "The kids did an awesome job."
This weekend, the Dunkin' replica will have lights, and there will be plants and flowers around the perimeter.
Madison Musto, a junior from Wilmington, worked on the project. Musto, also an employee at a Dunkin' in Wilmington, said it's great for the project to all come together.
"It's so cool to come in and see it because it looks so real," she said.
Rachel Conway, a junior from Tewksbury, also worked on the Dunkin' project. They were "almost forced to learn to work as a team better," she said.
After the weekend, students will take apart their masterpiece. The materials will be reused.
"Always the heartbreak every year (to take it apart)," Bonito said. "Everything that's built inside the school needs to come down."
Shawsheen Tech graduate Aaron Weiner and his father Andrew own Dunkin' locations in the area. They employ many Shawsheen students and give out scholarships, so Superintendent-Director Tim Broadrick reached out for some help with this project. As a result, they will donate coffee and Munchkins for the masonry students to serve out of the shop for free this weekend.
"This is so good for the kids," Broadrick said about the project. "Students really learn more effectively by experiencing these hands-on opportunities. It gives them a reason to want to be here.
"They can do real work in here every single day," he added. "It gets kids enthusiastic about what they do."
The open house is on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. Many middle-school students and their families interested in applying for Shawsheen Tech attend the open house, but it's open to the whole community.
"It's a great opportunity to show off what we do," Broadrick said.
The school will showcase 22 programs. Guidance counselors will be available with admissions information.
Shawsheen Tech is located at 100 Cook St.
For more information, call 978-671-3611.
Follow Rick Sobey on Twitter @rsobeyLSun.