Students in the DeKalb County High School Construction Technology (building trades) program are making great progress on the latest home now under construction.
Up until this year, all homes built through this program were constructed on lots which had been purchased by the school board for this purpose. This meant that students in the class and their teacher would have to load up on a bus and travel back and forth between the school and the construction site each school day until the project was completed.
But now, for the first time, a home is being built on campus at DeKalb County High School and when it is completed, the house will be sold and the owner will have it moved to his or her own lot.
Class instructor Melvin Young told WJLE Wednesday that students began work on the home, a 1,456 square foot structure, in August and expect to have it finished by Thanksgiving.
The school board gave its blessing to build the house on-campus in February at the request of Brad Leach, Career and Technical Education director. "The on-site building will bring the building back to the campus at the high school. The students would not have to have transportation. Tools would not have to be transported. Everything would be done right there close to the building trades classroom. The students would just be within walking distance. Its actually in between the band tower and the bus garage. We would come in and build a permanent footer and foundation for the house and then the house would be constructed. After that, whoever wanted to buy the house, they would be responsible for paying for the house at the price that the construction teacher would set. Then they (buyer) would be responsible for all costs of moving the house and taking the house to wherever they would be putting it on a lot.. The other thing I like about this too is that we can do some integration projects with our math courses. Those students can come over and observe or maybe do some calculations on the house. We can also integrate family consumer science for designing purposes. There's a number of different things we can use this for on-site. The students will still be getting the concept of building. It's not taking anything away from that. They will still master the competencies that they need for the construction technology program," said Leach.
Director of Schools Mark Willoughby told WJLE Wednesday that he supports this new concept. "Last spring, they built a foundation in order so that someone can come in, purchase the house and then move it to their own location. With the project that we're doing right now, the students will be involved and learn the majority of the skills that they would be involved in if it were an on-site building project. Of course, there'll be some things, such as laying brick, that they will no longer be doing because it is on campus. The safety of transporting students, tools, and things like that will no longer be an issue. Plus, the students will have more time to actually work on the house without having to spend time on the road going back and forth from school to the building site. So there will be more class time and work time, driving nails, putting in windows, installing doors, and things like that," said Willoughby
Obviously since the home will have to be moved, some finishing work will be required by the owner once its relocated, according to Willoughby. "The house will probably be more affordable because the owner can hire someone to move this house, take it to their own lot, and do some finishing details themselves. The house won't be completely finished when its sold but the majority of the work will already be taken care of, " added Willoughby.