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Murray High class gets hands-on building house

Published June 27, 2013 12:23 pm

Dedication • Students spend two years constructing home sold on open market.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Murray High students just completed another Spartan House via a construction management class at the school that provides students with actual experience in building a house.

"The object would be to prepare the students to enter the workforce," said Quinn Drury, who teaches the class. "It really gives them a place to showcase their talents, being hands-on, building, being able to create."

Drury has taught the class for 17 years and supervised the completion of eight Spartan homes. In fact, the house finished this year on Tripp Lane across from Riverview Junior High sits adjacent to another student-built house that was sold about 18 months ago.

"We've gotten really positive feedback," Drury said. "A lot of people will mention they have no idea the school did this."

The class is a two-year experience for most students as that's the duration it takes to complete one house. Students can get up to 18 hours of concurrent enrollment credits.

The first part of building the house involves doing layout, foundation, framing, putting on the roof, and installing doors and windows. The second year, students work on plumbing, drywall, mechanical and electrical features, painting, flooring, cabinets, etc. The school hires subcontractors, who work directly with the students.

"It's real-life; it's relevant," Drury said. "It really prepares them for where they're headed."

The current house on sale is a little smaller than 18,000 square feet. The five-star energy-rated structure features three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a three-car garage.

Savid Acuna, a junior, said the class has given him a good idea of the construction management field, which he plans to go into.

"It's a great opportunity to see how everything gets done," he said. "You get to see every step."

For Acuna, the house is more than just a class.

"The quality has to be good, so you have to push yourself, because people are going to live in it," he said. "We put our hearts and souls into it because it represents us and represents the school."

There were some challenges to building a house that he didn't expect, such as cement work.

"I just thought the truck got here, and it just dumped there," he said. "It's a lot of hard work."

Other than learning and accomplishing the technical aspects, Acuna said he earned valuable skills such as teamwork and leadership.

Another student, senior Emily Jew, took the class because she wants to be an interior designer. Her duty included picking out the stucco, concrete color, paint, floor, cabinet, lighting, etc.

"I'm glad I've had this experience," she said. "If I wanted to go to an art institute, telling them I have finished a house would look good on my résumé."

Another senior, Serena Fuhriman, worked alongside Jew in furnishing the house. The most difficult thing, she said, was dealing with setbacks.

"We would pick something out first that would be the most expensive things, and months later we found out we couldn't get it," she said. "We picked out things to match the colors, so it was difficult because months later we had to choose something from memory."

Fuhriman said she feels equipped for the future if she has to purchase items for her house.

"It's simple life skills, the process of buying things as well, not just choosing what you want, but knowing the pricing for it," she said.

The class is a rigorous course for the students, as they have to leave campus and travel to the construction site pretty much every school day, but the commitment yields great results when they get to welcome people in to see the house.

"Don't underestimate teenagers and how much thought we put into it, how much effort and how much we can share," Jew said.

According to Drury, the two-year process allows the students to meticulously construct and fashion a high-quality house.

"We have a longer timeline to get it done," he said. "In the industry, they build them in three months, and sometimes things get lost."

For taking the class, the students can qualify for tuition scholarships to Salt Lake Community College, Snow College, Southern Utah University and Brigham Young University. Drury said he's thankful to the Murray City School District for supporting the project and to the community for donating supplies.

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At a glance

Murray High students built a house at 734 W. Tripp Lane in Murray.

House has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a three-car garage.

It is five-star energy rated.

The house is in a series completed through the years by Murray High students taking a construction management class.