SASD Press Archives

North & South Students Finish House Construction Project
photo
Keyon Tinnon, 18, a senior at Sheboygan
North High School, installs deadbolt and
locksethardware Friday for the front door
of the SASD Project 2008 House. Photo
by Sam Castro/The Sheboygan Press

The open boxes of wood laminate flooring, the deafening noise of saws and the workmen tightening door handles look like any other home construction site - except for one detail. On face, it is a typical modest but polished new home in the making. The front door opens into a bright and open living room. The windows overlook a brand-new deck and the small backyard. A stone fireplace wall fills one corner, and a kitchen with cabinets but no appliances is tucked into the other.

But there is striking detail about the scene: The contractors are all teenagers.

Twenty-five students from Sheboygan North and South high schools teamed up this school year for Project 2008 House Construction, the district's 11th annual project to build a house for a private homeowner.

"Most people just think 'students beating on nails,' ... (but) they amaze me with how well we do," said Jeff Grunewald, 26, a construction and woodworking teacher at North High School. "When it's done, it's something to be proud of, that's for sure."

The 1,537-square-foot house, which sits on a 7,700-square-foot property, is almost ready for a family to call it home. The students will unveil their finished project at an open house Saturday. The three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home, at 2511 N. 26th St., will list for $214,900.

The 10 previous homes - two of which are in the same neighborhood - sold before construction was completed.

The latest project began in the fall of 2007, when an architectural drafting class began designing the house. The final blueprints - designed by 2008 North alumnus Jesus Arciniega - were chosen about one year ago.

Subcontractors dug out the basement and laid the foundation, then the project was turned over to the 25 high school students. They built the walls, the roof and the deck. They hung the cabinets and doors and laid the laminate wood flooring. They assisted with the electrical work and plumbing.

"The only thing they don't do is paint," Grunewald said.

More than 100 additional students from the district also got involved in the project. They used their botany, film production and interior design skills to bring the house project to life.

The district funnels the proceeds from the house sale back into the construction program and puts some money toward scholarships for students studying for a technical college or certificate program.

The amateur contractors rely on lessons from Grunewald and South teacher Bob Below. They pride themselves, though, on building a house that looks so professional it blends into the neighborhood seamlessly.

"For some people, this was the first time they picked up a hammer," Grunewald said. "They are expected to learn the whole house as we go."
Collin Charles, 17, a junior at North, went to work leveling the basement floor. His work has inspired his new career goal of becoming a journeyman in the heating and cooling industry.

He liked getting his hands dirty in each of the different construction specialties. "When we first came, it was just a basement. We built pretty much everything up. We have come really far," he said.

Andrew Siegl, 17, a junior at North, said he, too, now wants to work full-time in the business. "You just look at the house and walk around it. You see something and say, 'I remember doing that three months ago,' and it looks great," he said.

A handful of students - including Keyon Tinnon, 18, a senior who plans to study construction at Lakeshore Technical College next year - returned for a second year on the construction project. He couldn't wait for the relief of finally seeing the house finished.

"You have a great sense of self worth and self confidence," Tinnon said.

For more information about the SASD house construction project, visit the project website.

Sheboygan Press Article - Kate McGinty
Sheboygan Area School District Press Release
June 3, 2009