Beloit students learn from the ground up

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  • Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News (From left): Gary Triplett of Triplett Concrete and Beloit Memorial High School Construction 4 students Rudy Abarca and Alec Nickel set up a foundation wall for a home they will build at Trevino Court. The School District of Beloit Student House Build project has listed a home at 2261 Trevino Court for sale and is working on making a foundation for a home to be built adjacent to it next fall.

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    Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News (From left): Construction 4 student Alec Nickel, Beloit Memorial High School House Build Instructor Scott Abbott and construction 4 student Rudy Abarca gather for a photo in front of the house they helped build.

  • Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News (From left): Gary Triplett of Triplett Concrete and Beloit Memorial High School Construction 4 students Rudy Abarca and Alec Nickel set up a foundation wall for a home they will build at Trevino Court. The School District of Beloit Student House Build project has listed a home at 2261 Trevino Court for sale and is working on making a foundation for a home to be built adjacent to it next fall.

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    Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News (From left): Construction 4 student Alec Nickel, Beloit Memorial High School House Build Instructor Scott Abbott and construction 4 student Rudy Abarca gather for a photo in front of the house they helped build.

BELOIT - Those with the School District of Beloit Student House Build project have listed the newly constructed home at 2261 Trevino Court for sale, with plans to build two additional homes on Trevino Court and more throughout the neighborhood, according to House Build Instructor Scott Abbott.

The district enlisted students to help build two homes as part of an effort to help the youngsters gain real-world job skills, and the homes were later sold. However in 2016-2017, there was no student house build project due to changing staff. Since Abbott and the district's Career and Technical Education Director Mitchell Briesemeister came on board, Abbott said they have been working to resurrect the important program and get it back on track.

"The long-term goal is to partner with city government, nonprofit organizations and businesses to provide a learning environment for the students and help grow the next generation's workforce for the construction industry," Abbott said.

The district acquired four lots on Trevino Court which was replatted to be three lots. Abbott was hired in fall of 2017 to start construction. The goal is to be building one house a year, first on the three Trevino Court plats and then in the surrounding neighborhood. Students currently are putting in a foundation at a plat to the east of the new home.

"The goal is to be done with that house by end of the school year and then start a buildable foundation for the third house in September of 2019," Abbott said.

Students in Construction 4 started building in the fall of 2017. The year-long class includes three hours of work in the morning or afternoon.

Last year, eight students worked on the house and this year Alexus Bell, Nolan Marshall, Will Marshall, Rudy Abarca and Alec Nickel worked on it.

Students participated in every phase of construction, from helping and observing subcontractors to doing work at the house and assisting with framing, hanging drywall and performing manual labor.

Some of the many subcontractors to help with time and materials donations include McMahon Construction, Batterman, Gunther Electric, Amwood Homes, Olson Plumbing and others.

"They provided time, materials and plenty of advice and wisdom," Abbott said.

The three-bedroom and two-bathroom home at 2261 Trevino Court was listed for sale about a week ago for $175,000. With the sale of the home, the district is hoping to break even. However, district officials hope to eventually make a profit during subsequent house builds with proceeds to go into the program to acquire additional lots and purchase tools and equipment.

Abbott said the students learn an array of skills while building the house. With Abbott acting as general contractor, site supervisor and teacher, his students see the business side of building a house.

"They aren't just learning skills on the job site, they are also learning the business and planning side of construction," Abbott said.

Student Alec Nickel said he liked how he was able to use skills he learned in the construction 3 class last year.

"This class is giving us the chance to bring all we learned together and to watch professionals and help them," Nickel said.

Nickel hopes to become an electrician or carpenter. He said the class was also good practice for working with different bosses as well as learning to use different materials.

"Every job is a little bit different. They have a fairly steep learning curve," Abbott added.

Student Rudy Abarca said he liked how the work was hands-on and included representation from area businesses which helped him learn. Abarca, who apprenticed at JP Cullen this summer, plans to keep working with the company when he graduates.

Abbott said once students complete construction 4, they will be ready to enter an apprenticeship program as a laborer, carpenter, plumber or electrician.

"They should be ready for entry level apprenticeship in any of the skilled trades. We want them to be job ready and on a viable career path when they graduate from high school," Abbott said.

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