Students build foundation for success Constructing a house is a school project

April 19, 1996|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

Most school projects wind up on a display shelf at best. The one that a group of students from the Center of Applied Technology (CAT) North are working on will wind up on the real estate market.

Since last September, building trades students from the school in Severn have been working on a three-bedroom split-foyer house across Ritchie Highway from Marley Station Mall that Champion Realty in Severna Park plans to sell.

Champion will donate its commissions to a foundation that sponsors the school home building program, and the students will learn a trade and get a feeling of accomplishment.

"It feels good like when you drive by and can say, 'Hey, I built that,' " said Gary Whittington, 16, a carpentry student, who helped put gray vinyl siding on the house.

He wore work boots, a blue hard hat and a worn leather tool belt around his waist, as did the other carpentry students. The masonry crew, which was laying bricks for the basement in an excavated pit at the rear of the house, wore yellow hard hats. Their clothes were caked with mud.

Crew members not in the pit pushed wheelbarrows of cement while others passed it by the shovel down a line to each other and dumped it into a mortar tray for the crew in the pit.

"This will prepare you for jobs the rest of your life. This is work experience, actually being able to come out and do it," said Steve Thomas, 17, a masonry student who was in the pit.

Project manager Ed Bury of the CAT North faculty kept his crew moving to meet the end-of-school deadline. They worked in the winter, halting only when the snow was too deep.

The house-building projects began in 1982 as a way to help technology students apply their textbook work in the field. They were sponsored by the Arundel County Students Construction Trades Foundation, a nonprofit group of building tradesmen, real estate agents and lawyers.

The foundation pays for building materials and expenses. It paid $45,000 for each of three 50-foot-by-150-foot lots in the 7800 block of Ritchie Highway, where the students will build one house a year, said Tinker Trow, special projects supervisor for Anne Arundel County schools and executive vice president of the foundation.

"The main thrust is for the kids to have an experience building a house. It's the real deal. One day someone is going to live there," said Mr. Trow.

The foundation also gives the center $5,000 a year for student activities and a $500 scholarship for a student.

From September to June, about 75 students, including Tasha Logan, Joseph Graves and Randy Robinson, the drafting students who designed the house, will have had a hand in the project.

The students had been working on the house on the CAT North campus until Monday, when a crew from Nanticoke Homes of Greenwood, Del. moved it in two sections on flatbed trucks to the Ritchie Highway site. A white, 40-ton crane lifted the pieces ,, of the house and placed them on the foundations.

Over the next weeks, masonry students will put up a brick veneer around the front of the house and lay sidewalk. Carpentry students will build the stairs from the basement to the first floor. Plumbing and electricity students will install connections for lighting and water. Landscaping and greenhouse students will add their touches, too.

Yesterday, as the crew cleaned up for the day, Mike Tewey, 16, a carpentry student, removed his hard hat and headed for the school bus, saying it was "nothing but a hard day's work."

Pub Date: 4/19/96

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