- Associated Press - Thursday, July 24, 2014

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) - The first house constructed in “The Trades” subdivision now has a “for sale” sign in the front yard.

Constructed by the building trades students of the Vigo County School Corp., the three-bedroom home had its public unveiling Wednesday as student Mason Zinkovich talked about the many hours that he and fellow juniors and seniors put into the building project.

Mason was among 15 students from Terre Haute South, North and West Vigo high schools who spent two hours each school morning at the house, under the direction of building trades teacher Kevin McCrea. Another 15 students worked at the house site during the afternoons.

They dug and poured the footers, then framed up the house using some prebuilt exterior and interior walls, but stick-building the two-car garage. That gave the students experience with two construction techniques.

The 1,426-square-foot house was finished during the school year, with a few minor details completed in June by McCrea and Mason, the latter of whom was selected because of his experience in the class.

“I’ve been working with my dad since 2005,” Mason said of his construction background. His father operates Groundworkz Construction. “When I heard about this class they were offering, I decided to jump on it because it’s something I wanted to do.”

The class experience built upon his knowledge of pouring decorative concrete sidewalks and patios. The 2014 graduate of South Vigo plans to attend Vincennes University, where his building-trades class earned him six dual-credit hours. He will study landscape architecture and design, the Tribune-Star reported (https://bit.ly/1kdRwTB ).

Doug Dillion, director of career and technical education for the school corporation, bragged on Mason’s success with the class in which he was a scholarship winner for earning two industry certifications.

“We’ve never had a kid earn two industry certifications, and he earned them like they were nothing,” Dillion said. The National Association of Home Builders certifications required Mason to take lengthy online tests in which he explained his construction knowledge, such as how to cut a fly rafter to national standards, how to do layout of framing, read blueprints, and general knowledge.

“He’s a career pathways superhero,” Dillion said.

The building trades program has been constructing homes in the community since 1986. A new subdivision called “The Trades” has been opened on property owned by the school district behind the old Thornton School near 29th and College streets.

Another eight houses will be built on the property, one each school year.

The sale price on the new house is $145,900. Because the program is not-for-profit, money from the sale is re-invested in the program to build the next house.

McCrea said the practical application of the building trades program can help any student.

“A lot of the kids who take this class don’t go into building trades after school, but they have practical experience they can use,” McCrea said. “Everyone’s going to own a house.”

As an example, one student was using a ladder outside a window, and when the ladder moved and broke the window, the student then had to learn to how to replace a window sash.

McCrea notes that there will always be a need for home builders, brick layers and people with specialized skills such as those the trades students receive.

And the students learn that what looks like a tough job, such as plastering a ceiling, can be easy once they learn the proper materials, tools and techniques to use.

Dillion said the only contractor-hired work involved heavy equipment, the laying of foundation block, setting the furnace and laying carpet. The rest of the work, including the ceramic floor tile, was completed by the students.

The house looks as if it was built by professionals, because the students were held to high standards.

“I think when people hear that the house is being built by students, they might be cautious, but really, since the students are doing the labor, we have saved the labor costs, and we can put more into the house and its finishes,” Dillion said.

The house has two bathrooms, a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, an open concept kitchen with an island, a vaulted ceiling in the living room, extra closet space and a covered back porch. It is located near DeVaney Elementary and Woodrow Wilson Middle School.

Anyone interested in purchasing the house can contact Dillion at 812-462-4470.

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Information from: Tribune-Star, https://www.tribstar.com


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