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Mitchell Tech to Showcase Student Construction Talent at New Home

The work of Mitchell Tech’s construction division students will be on display Wednesday and Thursday during the student showcase.

Instructors will open the doors to an 1,800-square-foot home at 2019 Quiett Lane from 5-7 p.m. both nights, welcoming the public to take a look around the collaborative project home where Architectural Design and Building Construction, Electrical Construction and Maintenance and Heating and Cooling Technology students have put their skills to the test the last two years.

“To me, this has always been about showcasing the students’ work and the program. It’s good for the students to be there and hear the reactions of the public on their work,” even if they aren’t interested in owning the home, said Jim Mahoney, ADBC program instructor.

The programs’ crowning jewel boasts two main-floor bedrooms and two bathrooms, as well as an open-concept kitchen, dining room and living room, with the potential for two additional bedrooms, a bathroom and a family room in the basement, where rough-in construction has begun. Mahoney said he is confident visitors will be awed by the coffered ceiling in the living room.

“With the way that we operate our program, we have a lot of creative latitude,” Mahoney said. “Because it’s a (speculation) home and not pre-sold, we can do a lot more with the design. Also, with the fact that they’re used as a training tool, we can do a lot more things, because that’s available to us and we have the time. We try to stay neutral in color and style, but we like to try a few things that are a little more exceptional. You’re going to get things in this house that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to afford if you paid a contractor, because the students provide the labor.”

The first year of students’ time at Mitchell Tech, ADBC students build the bulk of the house in the school’s climate-controlled on-campus shop. ECM students run electrical and telecommunication wires, HCT students place ductwork. In the spring, the house is moved outside to wait while ADBC students prepare its future site and pour its basement. It is then moved across town and set on that foundation.

The following year, ADBC students work on-site, attaching an addition consisting of a second bedroom and bathroom, as well as a garage. Meanwhile, ECM students hang lights and finish the electrical systems, and HCT students hook up the heating, air conditioning and ventilation system.

“From the footings to the roof and everything in between, they’ll work on all of it” prior to graduation, Mahoney said, adding that it’s good preparation for industry. “We have students in every facet of construction, from sales to superintendent to drafting, and of course building. I tell them they’re going to be in charge sooner than they think, because the industry is aging quickly, and those guys won’t be there forever.”

While students in the electrical program will have to earn their journeyman certificates upon graduation, Mahoney said Mitchell Tech’s ADBC and HCT programs prepare students for positions in their respective industries.

“They can work onsite as long as they want to – if that’s what they enjoy, more power to them – but their ability is on the higher level by the time they graduate,” he said. “That’s the level most of them are aspiring to – they’re going to be in those upper-level positions.”

Knowing that’s the opportunity their students face upon graduation, Mahoney said he and fellow construction faculty strive to ensure that every student has a well-rounded educational experience.

“The instructors take pride in what we’re doing and how we do it, ensuring we’re turning out a good product, with the students and with the house itself. If things aren’t done right, they get re-done,” he said.

Some students have never done the work they do in the program, but by the end of their time at Mitchell Tech, they’re accomplishing craftsmanship worthy of display in a high-end home.

“Doing the cabinets is not an easy thing,” for instance. “They have to go into a half-million-dollar house, so they have to look good, and we have to do a good job,” Mahoney said. “We take that seriously.”

Following the student showcase, this year’s house will be available for purchase through any local realtor, as it will be listed on Mitchell’s Multiple Listing Site.


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