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GHS students build new housing in Gering
October 03, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen Zach Stout (left) and Dan Olmstead of the Gering High School construction class cut lumber for the class to frame two houses they’re building at the former McKinley School property.

In addition to providing a benefit to the community, members of the Gering High School construction class are learning skills that can take them into the future.

About 16 students from the two classes are getting hands-on experience by building two houses on the site of the former McKinley building in Gering. And their work is getting noticed.

Mike Sarchet with Twin Cities Development, the group that’s helping develop the lots, told city council members last week the group is doing a commendable job with excellent quality results.

Bob Anderson, who teaches the high school construction class, said they got started about the second week of school. The flooring has been completed and the frame walls are starting to go up. Both houses are in the 1,400 square foot range with double car garages and one of them has a basement.

“It’s the plan to get both of these houses enclosed before winter hits so we can work inside,” Anderson said. “We’ll have one of them done by the end of the school year for sure. The other one we may end up finishing the following year. But I still think we’ll get both of them done this year.”

The class originally planned to build only one house this year, but later decided to add another. A third house is planned for the 2014 – 2015 school year.

Anderson, who’s taught the class for 26 years, said his classes have built a house every year. And some of the graduates go into some area of the construction industry.

“I’ve seen several of them go into construction management,” he said. “Others go into a different area of construction like electrical, heating and air conditioning, or plumbing. They get a feel for it all while they’re here.”

High school senior Dan Olmstead, a first time construction student, said he likes the class because it’s hands-on experience. “Rather than reading how to build houses from a textbook; I’d rather go out and do it.”

Olmstead added he’s considering going into construction management or architecture when he gets to college.

Senior Zach Stout is also a first time construction student. He said he’s planning on going into architecture and thought construction would be good experience.

“It will be good for me to learn both sides of construction,” Stout said. “As an architect, I’ll understand what construction workers have to do to get things built. Maybe I can help make their jobs easier.”

Stout said he also enjoys the hands-on element of the class because they aren’t confined to a classroom.
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