With each nail hammered in, each piece of siding put into place and each window installed, the Washington County Career Center students have known their work this year wasn't just a school project - it will be someone's home.
The annual home construction project at the school is wrapping up, with the 1,500-square-foot modular home nearly complete and set for auction June 29.
"It's amazing to actually build a house," said senior Aaron Miller, 18. "It's something we are proud of, and it gives us a real advantage in the workforce over some guy walking in who's never picked up a hammer. We've built a house. We've been there."
KATE YORK The Marietta Times
Washington County Career Center student Jerald Hesson, of Ravenswood, W.Va., works Tuesday outside a nearly completed house built this year by the career center’s high school and adult technical training students. The house will be auctioned off June 29.
This year, the construction was a joint effort between the career center's high school students and adult technical training students. Typically, each groups builds a separate house, but the project was downsized in light of the economy.
"We pretty much just split the house in half," said adult instructor Jim Seevers. "Then everyone gets the experience they need, we don't overlap with each other, but we can be there to help each other if we want."
Among the high school students, the juniors build the frame of the house while the seniors focus on carpentry work, said building trades/carpentry instructor Ken Gebhart.
If you go
What: Washington County Career Center House Auction
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 29. The home is open for inspection on the back lot of the career center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday through June 28 and noon to 6 p.m. June 29
For information: www.thecareercenter.net or 373-3766, ext. 379
"The students build it from the ground up," he said. "In my opinion, they have to do a better job than even contractors because their work is so scrutinized."
The house must be inspected by the state this year for the first time, rather than the county, but the students said they're confident in their work.
"It was so time-consuming because we had to make sure everything was exactly right," said senior Steven Clum, 18. "If it wasn't right, we had to do it over. Sometimes it was fun, and sometimes you would really work up a sweat and want it to be time to quit."
Next week, the students will get the chance to invite all their family and friends to a cookout and tour of the home they built.
"They're always really pleased to show it off," said Gebhart. "The parents always say, 'You built this?' They still think of them as kids."
The houses typically sell for around $50,000, with any money beyond construction costs benefiting the school.
"We want to make sure they have enough money that they can build a house here next year," said Miller. "That's one of the things we worry about because it's a really good experience."