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Yankton High School students build house for class

October 8, 2018

YANKTON, S.D. (AP) — So far, the Career & Manufacturing Technical Education Academy’s (or RTEC) newest building is functioning exactly as it should.

The pre-engineered metal building located behind the facility has been used since the beginning of the year, but its main purpose of acting as space for Bret Johnson’s Intro to Building Trades class at Yankton High School to construct a house began with the school year in August.

Johnson said he couldn’t have been happier with how things are going.

“Another teacher told me that everything (regarding the house construction) is so much cleaner and neater, and I agree,” he said. “I think it’s because of the environment the kids are in. They enjoy working indoors and there’s a place to throw things away.”

Students previously built the house behind the high school.

The building process is different for students who previously took part in this project, mostly due to the lack of concern regarding weather conditions, the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan reported.

“Before, we had to brace the walls (for wind) and now we hardly had to brace anything because there’s nothing that will make the walls move,” Johnson explained.

The change in setting is also affecting the building process, he added.

“When you first start building a home, you want to get it weatherized as fast as you can,” he said. “We will still do that, but we don’t have to put windows in right away or finish the roof completely. We can wait on those things.”

Doing that will make certain homebuilding aspects, such as sheet rocking, a bit simpler, as well as putting in insulation.

“Since part of the roof will still be open, the kids will be able to see what’s going on instead of having to use headlamps and be in the attic when it’s dark,” Johnson said. “They’ll also get better ventilation and I’ll be able to check their work more easily.”

Last month, Enercept, a company that manufactures structural insulated panels (SIP), dropped the materials off at the facility. From 8:30-3 p.m. — not including an hour-long lunch break — 10 students put the walls up by hand. Johnson recorded a time-lapse video of the process to show how fast it went.

“The speed and convenience of these SIP panels is incredible,” Johnson said. “It’s a different learning style from the traditional construction process of just framing walls and insulating them.”

Since putting the walls up, students have begun working on the inside of the house structure, framing doors and prepping the interior walls.

In the coming weeks, students will build a few closets and lift a shower/tub unit into the building using a crane. Johnson will instruct the students on how to handle these types of mechanics.

“I’m trying to teach these kids how to be able to go into the construction field and start working with a carpenter right outside of school,” he said. “A carpenter won’t have a crane like we have, but it’s a piece of equipment they can get their hands on and use.”

Things are going so well that the class is currently ahead of schedule. Johnson’s goal is to have the house completed by May 1, which would allow him to do some in-class teaching before the school year ends.

Otherwise, the students are working in the RTEC facility for the entire school year.

“This is a hands-on learning experience,” Johnson said.

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Information from: Yankton Press and Dakotan, http://www.yankton.net/

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