Iowa students gather for building competition

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MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Students from nearly a dozen high schools gathered in Mason City for an annual competition that focuses on the building trades industry.

The 85 students interacted Wednesday at North Iowa Area Community College as their various homemade projects were judged by contractors and architects, the Mason City Globe Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/1qiKzCA ). They presented sheds, playhouses and other structures. There were also safety demonstrations and other activities.

Organizers said the competition is an opportunity for students to learn about the building trades industry. Students such as Cody Nelson, a senior at North Butler High School, said the best part of the gathering was “just the experience of coming out here and showing off something your team put together.” Students at his school built a playhouse out of pallets.

Scott Hemann, a senior at St. Ansgar High School, said he enjoyed “seeing everyone’s structures and how they went about everything.” Students at his school built a deer shack that can help hunters keep warm on cold days.

The competition, now in its 14th year at NIACC, is hosted by the college’s building trades department and the Contractor’s Advisory Association. Participating schools receive money and tools for their work.

Gregg Helmich, a building trades instructor at NIACC, said he used to bring high school students to the event when he taught at Forest City High School.

“It was such a cool thing,” he said, and noted he’s glad it’s still happening.

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Information from: Globe Gazette, http://www.globegazette.com/

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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