Students at the Warsaw Area Career Center swapped books for a more hands on learning experience. Instead of studying home construction techniques in a textbook, 22 juniors and seniors worked side by side to create an entire home from beginning to end.
A look at the project will be offered to the public from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 30, at the home located at 455 E. Rivera Dr., Warsaw.
According to Tom Heiman, teacher of the Construction Technologies course offered to students at the WACC, this year’s class was not the first to garner hands-on experience in the construction field. Heiman states that this is the 27th home completed under his tutelage and the 31st home completed since the beginning of the program.
Though Heiman says his student comprised construction crew included students of all ability levels and experience. When it comes to ensuring quality, Heiman states the project has featured a very high success level.
According to Heiman, he and his students will continue work until the homeowners are completely satisfied with their new home. In addition, students are not the only to enjoy benefits from the project.
“I think people are very satisfied [with their homes],” surmises Heiman. “Its a co-op relationship between the homeowner and the high school. It takes a full school year so there are some benefits and there are some drawbacks. Some benefits include that it goes slow enough that the homeowner has a lot of input. They have to understand they are working with students. Overall I think they are pretty happy and they actually save about 40 percent on the house construction.”
Homeowners are not the only ones saving big as a result of the student provided labor. Heiman states that through a partnership with Ivy Tech, students are able to receive up to 14 college credit hours – nearly an entire semester’s worth of college credit.
For students who choose not to continue on to a secondary education, Heiman explains many are able to utilize their experiences with the class to help propel them into the construction business.
According to Joe Smith, a senior at the WACC who has participated in the course two years in a row, the experience he has gained from working with Heiman and his peers will assist him in caring for his own home now and in the future.
“This is my second year in the class,” Smith tells. “I think I will continue doing this work for myself, I don’t think I will get into it for a job, but definitely for around my house in the future. Coming away from it I will be missing the crew, we had a great crew and we had a lot of fun. Tom’s a great teacher – he teaches you what you need to know. We’ve had a good time.”