MENTONE — Kids at Tippecanoe Valley High School are getting hands-on construction experience with the building trades program at the high school.
Since the beginning of the school year, students have been working to add on to and remodel a home in Mentone.
TVHS Building Trades teacher Wes Backus explains every year the class typically builds a house from the ground up, however, this year the class took on a project that is a little different. Students are constructing an addition and remodeling the existing portion of Chris and Travena Petitt’s home.
The Petitt’s home was originally 1,172 sq. ft., consisting of two bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen and dining room area, office area and a living room. The class has added extra square footage to the first floor and have added a second story to the home. The re-modeled home will consist of four full bathrooms, three bedrooms, an office, and rooms that will be used for a homeschooling area and a craft room. When it reaches completion, the area of the home will have a total of 4,003 sq. ft.
While the kids have done a significant amount of the work, outside sources have pitched in to help as well.The homeowner is an electrician and was able to completely wire the home. The construction crew J and H did most of the framing in the home. Other crews may be doing more work in the future.
Backus mentioned the bare minimum they hope to have completed by the end of the school year is making sure the home is weather tight. He added he would like to have more of the house finished, however, at this time it’s hard to estimate how much they will have completed.
The hands-on aspect of the program is not the only thing students gain from building trades, if kids complete the two-year program throughout their junior and senior year, they can receive up to 18 dual-credits from Ivy Tech.
Students work on the home from Monday through Friday for a several hours in the morning and in the afternoon. A group of seven kids work in the morning. In the afternoon, six kids work on the home.
Students are getting experience with framing, roofing, flooring and many other aspects of working on a home.
Backus mentioned that he does not expect all of his students to go into career in construction after high school. He appreciates that the program gives them the skills they will need to work on their homes in the future.
“That’s the neat thing.”