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By Leah Sander
WARSAW — Dayton and Tisha Cohagan have gotten their “dream home” built thanks to the help of some Tippecanoe Valley High School students.
The TVHS Building Trades Program had an open house at the home students helped construct for the couple at 4245 W. 200S, Warsaw, on Sunday, May 21.
The kids did most of the work on the one-story home, said Building Trades Teacher Wes Backus.
“We started at the beginning of the school year with the concrete foundation,” he said. “We went through there, framed the basement, got the first floor put on.”
“We did sub the roof out this year (due to the pitch),” he added. “We subbed the finishing of the drywall out, so the mudding, but we hung it all. We subbed the heating and cooling stuff out, but the kids went through there, helped do all the drain lines. They helped a little bit on water lines.”
Kids also “installed windows, doors … did all the trim work at the end (and) installed the kitchen cabinets,” said Backus.
There were 17 juniors and seniors that worked on the home for at least part of the year. The seniors, in their second year of the program, were allowed do more difficult work.
Backus noted he had fewer kids this school year versus the previous one, but they “got just as much (work) done” as the larger group.
Members of the Cohagan family and their friends also helped.
Backus said the home is around 5,000 square feet, including the basement, garage and porches. The home has three bedrooms, “with the potential of a fourth one in the basement,” he said. There are two and half bathrooms, with the homeowners planning to put in a third full one in the basement.
Kids can earn 15 dual credits through Ivy Tech Community College through building trades “if they take it both years,” said Backus.
“I’ve had kids go on, and they’ve become electricians. Some have gone on for carpentry and … some have gone on and done plumbing,” he said. “Some have gone on and done … general contractor-type stuff.”
“There’s a lot of companies around here that just blow my phone up at the end of the year. They want to know if any of the trades students are available and are looking for jobs,” added Backus. “They love the fact that they’ve made it through the building trades program.”
Two students shared with InkFreeNews Sunday what they’d learned through building trades, what they worked on in the home and their plans after high school.
“It not only taught me a lot of stuff that I’m going to use on my own house, but it taught me how to work with a team and do other things like that,” said senior Blake Wiggs, who said he worked on “electrical work and framing.”
Wiggs plans to study electrical engineering at Purdue University.
Senior Karl Parker also helped with the home’s electrical work as well as doing plumbing and trim and putting in windows and doors.
He said he might become an electrician in the future.
The Cohagans told InkFreeNews it’s “exciting” that the home for them and their son is nearly complete.
“It’s definitely a good program,” said Dayton Cohagan. “It’s an interesting program to … watch … breaking ground to a full house, and the high schoolers do it. It’s pretty amazing. They do great work.”
“I hope they enjoyed it though too,” said Tisha Cohagan.
The two thanked Backus, the students and the high school for “mak(ing) our dream home come true,” said Dayton Cohagan.
The public is welcome to get on the list to have homes constructed through the program. To do so and learn more, people should contact Tippecanoe Valley School Corp. Superintendent Blaine Conley at (574) 598-2765 or Backus at (574) 598-2101.
Homes are generally built in the school district.