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Student-built house impresses in Salt Lake Parade of Homes

Published August 29, 2012 10:12 am

Project • Canyons Technical Education Center students worked on the home for nearly a year.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A house completed by students at Canyons Technical Education Center was featured in the Salt Lake Parade of Homes this year.

High school students worked on the house as part of a year-long course called building construction on-site. The house, located in Sandy, is one of 35 homes throughout the Salt Lake Valley chosen to be in the showcase, which ran Aug. 3-18.

"We were kind of shocked and thought this would be fun, but it turned out it was a lot of work," said Ken Spurlock, CTEC principal. "It was really a big project that came together and a pretty big honor."

Spurlock said he was excited to tell people about it.

"People will come into the house, and I'll say "Did you know that students built this house?'" he said. "A lot of times they think it's college students, and they'll say, 'No way.'"

Spurlock and Smith said this is the first time they are aware of a student-built house in their school district that was selected to be in the Salt Lake Parade of Homes.

Spurlock said he's thankful to the Canyons School District for providing the means for the construction program, and he's proud of the students and instructors.

"It shows a really quality house that students can build," he said.

The house is 3,520 square feet in total, with five bedrooms and two bathrooms. The students started the project in August of last year and completed it this May.

Austin Wilson, who is going to be a senior at CTEC, said he thinks the kitchen is a winning quality of the house.

"The kitchen is homey," he said. "It's very open, very nice."

He said he was surprised to find out the house would be featured in the Parade of Homes.

"I was shocked because of all the professionals that built the other houses," he said. "Looking at what we did at the end of the year, it's awesome to see we actually made it."

The house offers a built-in central vacuum in the kitchen that really catches everyone's attention, Spurlock said. There's also an intercom system, and the residence features Energy Star-rated appliances.

Another student who worked on the house, Mike Nagle, who will be a senior in the fall, said it was quite an experience for 18- and 17-year-olds.

"There's a lot of professionals that come in and say some of their houses haven't been in the (Parade of Homes)," Nagle said.

He said the most challenging part was figuring out the math, but it was a great learning experience.

"We worked on hanging dry walls, framing, hardwood flooring," he said. "Sometimes we got dirty doing carpet, dry walls and cement."

The annual Salt Lake Parade of Homes is in its 66th year. It is the longest consecutive running showcase of its kind in the country, organizers said. For Fred Smith, the instructor who supervises the construction class, it is also an opportunity to present the benefits of the program.

"When they walk through the home, people can see how much the students can learn," Smith said.

He said there is a shortage of similar programs in the state, and although the students might not choose to pursue it, the skills they obtain could be useful in their daily lives.

"The art of homebuilding is becoming a lost art," Smith said. "Even if they're not going to do it as a profession, they can have their own houses and work on things."

One reason why the course is effective is because it is very hands-on, Smith said. Students not only learn procedures and techniques such as framing or carpentry, but they also get to actually do it.

"This is a great learning experience for them for years to come," he said.

Like Spurlock, Smith said he is also eager for people to see that a quality house can be built by students.

"It's an awesome program that people do not know about," Smith said. "I think as an instructor, I'm looking to build my program and have more students."

As for the house itself, Smith said he is satisfied with the feedback.

"We've received tons of positive comments about the quality of the house," Smith said. "A lot of people said this is their favorite house."

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The house that students built

569 E. Rose Bowl Court, Sandy

3,520 square feet total

5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

Completed by students from Canyons Technical Education Center