By Joe Reavis
Bids are being accepted to buy a 500-square-foot house equipped with most amenities built over the past two school terms by building trades students at Princeton High School.
The small house, program instructor Charles Long pointed out, is especially suitable for use on a lake lot or at a deer camp, and he has received interest from prospective buyers who are interested in setting up independent living quarters for an elderly or disabled relative.
Working on the project were students in the advanced building trades class who learn by doing in a 2-hour class period each day. Long reported that there are currently eight students in the class and that enrollment had been 10 students.
The building trades instructor designed the house and drew the blueprints for students to follow under his guidance. Operating under a time constraint, he quickly put together a project to build a pier and beam, 1-bedroom structure with a bathroom and kitchen.
Next time around, Long plans to direct students in building a smaller house, more along the tiny house movement in which people are building and living in homes of 300 square feet, or even less.
“I didn’t have time to look around and see what I should be building,” Long said.
The next project most likely will be a smaller house built atop a 8-foot by 20-foot trailer that can be pulled behind a vehicle like a travel trailer.
The house being offered for sale is designed to be moved to a site by its purchaser, but then becomes more of a permanent fixture.
Exterior of the structure is shiplap siding with a single door under a small front porch. Interior features include beaded pine walls, vaulted ceilings, bathroom with a tub/shower combination, electric heater/air conditioner, ceiling fans, kitchen cabinets with adjustable shelves, space for an electric range and an area for a washer and dryer.
“There is plenty of closet space, which is always a factor in these tiny homes,” Long said.
In the construction phase, students get experience in every phase of the project. For continuity students are often assigned to teams such as electrical or plumbing to more quickly complete projects.
Long has taught at Princeton ISD for 13 years and started the building trades class 10 years ago. Primary goals of the class are to expose students to the construction field and to foster a good work ethic, both of which are necessary for future employment.
The program is working, too. The instructor reported that two students have been hired by a building firm that is sending them to Oklahoma State University to earn associate degrees in construction, and another student has been hired in an electrical apprenticeship program.
“We try our best to place them in jobs,” he pointed out.
Mininum bid for the building trades house is $26,000, which covers materials costs and provides seed money to start the new project.