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Twice a day, carpentry teacher Rob Weaver loads up students from one of his classes at Penta Career Center and drives them down to Roachton Road where they are building a house as a part of their curriculum.
Every year — except last year when a contract fell through — Penta’s carpentry class builds a house for a resident instead of having lab time in a classroom.
“It is a really personal project,” said Penta senior Jared Berger of Lake High School. “A family will be living there the rest of their lives, and it will be there until the house is torn down in 100 years.”
Mr. Weaver said it isn’t hard for the students to take the project seriously because they have to look the homeowners in the eye. “They push themselves,” he said.
Penta has been erecting houses since the 1960s, said Kevin McCann, the school’s construction and manufacturing supervisor, adding that about 80 homes have been built. At one time, two a year were built but added curriculum forced Penta to scale back.
The future homeowners pay Penta $8,000 for tools and busing and provide lumber, shingles, and other materials. Carpentry seniors do the framing, shingles, siding, and legwork. Masonry, electric, and heating and cooling students pitch in, and construction-trade students make sure the site is safe.
Contractors lay the foundation, do the drywall, plumbing, and other parts of the build.
“In the shop, you can’t replicate the problem-solving and teamwork skills you get on the site,” Mr. Weaver said. “In the lab you just get a lower grade if it is not done right; at the site it has to be [right].”
Students say they are proud of the 2,200 square-foot-house
“It is amazing seeing photos from when we started to now,” said Penta senior Cassie Kaptur of Anthony Wayne.
Students said a tornado in November was “nerve-wracking,” and snow days slowed production. More juniors were called on to help the project finish by May.
The future home’s owner, Gary Britten, a Perrysburg Township trustee, said he found out about the program when his father was on Penta’s board of education.
“Watching them in the cold on the roof doing the shingles, you have to give the kids a lot of credit,” he said. “It feels good helping the kids get experience at a young age.”