10.7.2019 - 3:23 PM- Kelly Hueckman
Just over two years ago, the Village of Prentice and the Prentice School Board worked together to arrange for the Building Trades class to attain land for their next project. The class, known to build and rebuild garages, sheds, and even houses around the community, began their 13th house on their newly-obtained land at the end of Knox Street in town this time last year.
The Building Trades students have been clocking in hours of work each week since the beginning of school. With plenty to do, the senior students are working hard to finish installing electrical work and insulation to stay warm as they continue class throughout the harsh winter months. The class is taught by long-time shop teacher, Don Anderson, who announced that his retirement will be in the spring. While Anderson’s initial plan was to retire last year, the unfinished house helped keep him around a bit longer. “This is a project that I started,” he said. “I felt that I should see it to the end.”
Though the progress since the beginning of the project is impressive, Anderson spoke about the struggles faced in the process. His main concern was the challenge of getting the school board and the village working together efficiently due to scheduling. Another major setback for the class is getting all of the resources needed to progress. Xcel Energy took much longer to get to the house than expected. Anderson assured that it “hasn’t been the students’ [fault] at all.”
However, Anderson has little worry for how long the project will take to finish. “I want to make sure we turn out a high-quality product,” Anderson states. With so many students working on the house with only one teacher, there are bound to be mistakes. Despite time set back and wasted materials, Anderson claimed that “If they [the students] make a mistake, I’d make them start over.” Logan Severson, a student working on the house since last year, stated that this year they have “fixed mistakes,” referring to work done last year. Severson reported that they “have had to shorten three walls so far,” that were the incorrect height, with two more to fix.
Though the majority of students have been in Building Trades for only a few weeks, there is a great amount of positive feedback. Not only does the class teach lessons in construction, but important life skills. Severson mentioned his fondness for the building aspect: “The hands-on work- I really like that part,” he stated. “It teaches problem solving skills.” Fellow student Clayton Lyons added, “It teaches you how to do something for yourself.” Lyons also seemed to enjoy the concept of saving money with skills learned from the class by claiming: “You’re not relying on other people.”
So what is the plan for the house once it reaches its finish? The school intends on selling the house and land, with buyers already coming to scope out the unfinished interior of the house. This isn’t surprising, considering all of the positive aspects that come with the purchase. “One of the things we wanted to do is keep the cost down,” Anderson stated. As a one-story house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, he also mentioned the appeal the house would have on a smaller family, most likely two parents and two children. The house should be finished by the end of the 2019-2020 school year and is open now for purchasing inquiries.