SALT LAKE CITY, Utah(News4Utah) Students in an innovative, hands-on learning program at the Canyons Technical Education Center spend the school year building a house from the ground up. It helps the students learn more about the construction management business. Ken Spurlock, Principal of the Canyons Technical Education Center, along with Jacob Lord and Nathan Catmull, both Alta High School seniors, joined Emily Clark to tell us about their experience.
Spurlock says students often walk away with a lot of callouses on their hands. First-year learning activities include laying out the lot, installing footings and foundation, trusses, stairways and window. They learn things like framing, sheet-rocking and taping, cement flat work, how to read blueprints, and how to follow safety instructions. In the second year, they actually put all of those skills to the test and build a house. It tests their math, communication, and leadership skills.
The students build one house every year. Spurlock says that most of the time, the proceeds of the home sale fund the next year’s project. But, in recent years, they’ve been able to enter into a partnership with Sandy City. He says Sandy has graciously donated to the school district. This allows them to lower the price of the project, making it affordable for new teachers, police officers or fire fighters to buy the house. Last year, a Canyons District employee was able to buy a house that is valued at more than $340,000 for about $285,000. They have to be pre-qualified and agree to a five-year residence agreement. Plus, they can live close to the school where they work.
Students at Alta High used the skills they learned in their classes to design the house. It was then built by students in the construction-management program at the Canyons Technical Education Center. The house isn’t completely done yet, because of logistical things that needed to be done during the fall and winter, but they say it’s done enough to hold an open house. That open house will be held today at 4 p.m. for the students’ families and friends.
For more information, visit CanyonsDistrict.org.