Carpentry students help build single family home
Students from the Bismarck Career Academy and Technical Center’s carpentry program stood proudly in front of the single-family home at 3524 Meridian Drive in Bismarck. The students had spent the last year building the house, braving winter temperatures that dipped below freezing. Now, the furnished home was up for sale and featured in the Bismarck-Mandan Homebuilders Association’s Parade of Homes.
"A lot of people came in and said they liked the house," says Connor McGregor, carpentry student. "When they were told it was built by high school students, it shocked them a bit. I don’t think they expected that a bunch of high school students could build a nice house like this. They thought college students built it, but it was 16-, 17-, 18-year-old kids that built it."
Triton Homes partnered with the Bismarck Career Academy and Technical Center to build the 2,400 square foot house, which has four bedrooms and three bathrooms. Students worked on the frame and exterior of the house, as well as as the counters and cabinets in the basement. It was the first year that carpentry students worked on a house off-campus. In the past, students built a smaller house on-campus, which was moved after its purchase.
"The price to move the house went way up, and people weren’t as willing to commit to buying," says Carpentry Instructor Tony Steckler. "We reached out to local builders to see if they were willing to help us out. Mr. Wachter and Triton Homes stepped right up, and it’s an amazing partnership. And, they’re giving a bunch of money back. We gave out $6,000 in scholarships last year to three students – $2,000 a piece."
Like all programs at the Bismarck Career Academy and Technical Center, the carpentry program aims to make high school students career ready. Some students plan to apply the skills they’ve learned by pursuing careers in carpentry and real estate.
"In the future, I’m thinking about becoming a carpenter or homebuilder, so this really starts me on my path toward learning the trade and being able to use it in the future," says Trenton Zainhofsky, carpentry student. "It’s cool to see how the whole process works and the different people that get involved in building a house."
Steckler says the program has something to offer to all students, even those who pursue careers in other other areas.
"A majority of their grade is what is called job ready skills. Not everyone is going to go to college. At a minimum, we want to make sure they’re a good employee when they leave there. So, I’d say about 70 percent of their grade is related to job readiness skills, which includes being to class on time, being respectful to those around them, working when there is work to be done and being a team player."
For most students, the best part of the program is getting out of the classroom to work on hands-on projects as a team.
No matter what career path students choose, the skills they learn in the carpentry program will be valuable in the future.
"It’s a great experience," says Zainhosfsky. "Even if you aren’t thinking abut going into carpentry, it’s a good class to take, because you get to learn different skills that could help you in the future. It gives you the knowledge to be able to fix things in your own house or help people with different projects."
The Bismarck Career Academy and Technical Center and Triton Homes are continuing their partnership this year, and students have already begun work on another house, which will stand beside the home they just built. For more information or to tour the home at 3524 Meridian Drive, call Jamie Schmidt with Triton Homes at (701) 319-6000.