More than 20 students from Calhoun Area Career Center are building a house in Battle Creek.
The first- and second-year students began working on the ranch-style, 1,300-square-foot house shortly after classes started in the fall.
They have already built a master bedroom on each floor, two smaller bedrooms on the main floor, two full baths, two-and-a-half car garage and a matching outbuilding and have installed plumbing in the basement for an optional third bath.
Set on one-and-half acres of property that the CACC purchased from the Calhoun County Land Bank Authority, the house is expected to sell for at least $190,000 when it goes on the market later this year.
The CACC held an open house Tuesday to celebrate the work of the Construction Technology Program students, who have been building the house since September.
“It’s really high-quality work,” said Kris Jenkins, assistant superintendent of regional career and technical education for the Calhoun Intermediate School District. “Sometimes it goes slower than regular contractors ’cause we’re teaching skills along the way, but we’re proud of the high-quality work that they do.”
The Construction Technology Program is offered in two parts to first- and second-year students.
Over the two years, the students learn how to use basic tools and work with materials needed to build a house. Over time, they also learn how to frame walls and install roofing, siding and windows, and more.
Their lessons include how to install drywall, insulation and cabinetry. They also paint and decorate the house.
“A lot of these kids don’t know a tape measure from a hammer,” said Scott Raysin, one of two construction technology instructors assigned to the project. “They just want to learn hands-on, and a lot of kids learn better hands-on, and we give them that opportunity.”
Keshawn Canales, a 17-year-old senior, first learned to use flat bars, levels and other basic tools, then advanced to framing, siding and installing a roof and other advanced tasks.
Canales plans on learning more about construction technology at Kellogg Community College and then transferring to Western Michigan University for a degree in construction engineering.
“My grandfather exposed me to this trade,” he said, “and now I actually have a chance to better myself now that the CACC gave me this hands-on experience.”
The students should complete the house in June, said Darvin Powell, the other construction technology teacher.
“If they’re into this type of work and field of study, they’re going to excel. I have some who excel more than others, but I’ve also lost seven students who went to co-op. There’s enough work out there that I could get every one of them a job.”