The Habitat for Humanity house being built as part of a cooperative effort between the Surry County Schools and Surry Community College is well under way at North Surry High School.
“It’s coming along pretty well,”said Surry Community College building technology instructor John Young. “We have most of the rough carpentry done and we’re looking forward to laying out the front gable that will go over the front porch. We’ve had to leave our rough open cuts for windows covered because of a heat issue.”
He explained approximately 24 college building technology students and 12 North Surry students work on the project weekly.
“The next step will be to locate a lot for the home,” said Young. “We are building this house so the entire thing can be lifted up in one solid piece and put on a foundation somewhere else.” He said the college has been involved in building more than six homes in similar projects, usually off site from the college.
“In previous projects, we’ve worked with the upper Yadkin Habitat for Humanity group,”said Young.”This is on site for the North Surry Students so it provides them an opportunity for hands on learning on their own campus with no loss of time. This is truly a unique experience for us.”
Surry Community student B.J. Boyles, who is a North Surry alumni, said the chance to build an actual home means a world of difference in learning.
“I would choose hands-on over just looking at a book anytime,” said Boyles. “It used to be all we got to do was build a demo from a book.”
It’s not all about technique, however. Most building technology instructors will admit there’s a lot to be said about being introduced to building in the real world where you have to work in extremes of heat and cold.
“It’s just as important to feel a chilly morning or a very hot day to develop perspective about what we have to do,” added Young. He also said students fare better financially when you consider the costs of taking two carpentry classes and a masonry class, which is roughly what the house building participants do.
Young added the hours on the project can be used toward a special diploma or associates degree in building trades classes, which are typically expensive to pursue.
Young said the North Surry Habitat home will continue the tradition of building as energy efficient and green as they can. The 42-foot by 26-foot home with three bedrooms and one bathroom is no different with extra insulation in corners and interior walls that butt against exterior walls which are both areas where heat and cold can be lost from a home.
He said the economics of energy from fossil fuels has helped to drive green building techniques and more energy efficiency and sustainability features in new homes. Young said new homes are built much more air tight than in the past in an effort to control air quality, which simply wasn’t as much a concern three years ago.
Young added the college is also teaching about these new technologies such as geothermal, photo-electric cells in roofing and green building strategy.
“There have been a lot of things that have changed, so we just have to learn them and learn fast,” said Young.
North Surry Construction Technology Teacher Chuck Hiatt agrees with Young. The mixture of hands-on training at the school has met with positive response from students.
“The kids are absolutely excited to put their hands to work on this home instead of just looking at the board,” said Hiatt. “For us being right here on campus has worked well. We have met all of our class expectations. More than anything else I have noticed an increase in the level of pride they take in it.”
Hiatt said the quality and level of work from his students has improved in direct proportion to the amount of time they get to be on site.
“It has been a great experience,” said Hiatt. “Our administration has really done a great job of scheduling so there is no overlapping between the two groups. Our guys usually work on the project their last two periods.”
According to Habitat Financial Director Sheree Russo, the local Habitat for Humanity group is looking for a donation of a parcel of land within five miles of the school to relocate the home to once it is finished. She said interested persons can contact Habitat at 789-4663 for more information.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.