Westerly center is designed to build on a military background

OPENED IN 2017, the nonprofit Westerly Education Center is managed by the R.I. Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner. The building was purchased by the Royce Family Fund Inc., previously the site of a 2½-acre abandoned rail yard. After the $5.1 million construction, the nonprofit leased the 34,500-square-foot building to the state for $1 per year for 20 years. / COURTESY R.I. DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
Though decades ago, T.J. Smith still remembers the camaraderie and sense of purpose he felt during his time as a member of the Rhode Island Army National Guard. After years of odd jobs, most recently a part-time gig at a security company, the Providence native was looking for a new career, a place that could…

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