A construction class at Southeast Polk is building more than a house, they are building a potential home for somebody in need.
Southeast Polk construction teacher Ryan Andersen arranged a partnership with Joppa, which helps homeless people find housing and rebuild their lives.
Andersen had learned of Joppa’s mission when he was a student at the University of Northern Iowa as part of the tiny house program in the tech and engineering education program.
When Andersen got the job at Southeast Polk he asked the organization to consider a partnership with his class.
“Basically I just talked to Mr. Pettit and asked if this would be ok to get involved with and he said it sounded like a good fit,” Andersen said. “The next thing was to find a location to do it because our school wasn’t a great fit. I talked to building and grounds and Gary Haines was able to allow us to use their space here.”
Joppa paid for the material while the students provided the free labor.
The class started building the tiny home in September.
“It has been a lot of jumping around back and forth,” said Levi Hood, student. “Some days we have really good days where we get a lot more done than expected or we get the same amount as what we expected and then there are days we run into a problem and we start back over. It is a learning process.”
The class started with the floor and then built up the walls and framing. After that they built the deck and moved on to the rafters and fascia. They will begin shingle work this week.
“Some things have been smooth and some things have been a little rough,” said student Evan Knowler. “It is going up pretty fast but there have been some bumps along the way.”
All the homes built for Joppa will look very similar as the plans were developed by an architectural firm. Each tiny home will consist of a bed, desk, mini-fridge and a place to put a TV if wanted.
“I thought construction class would be a fun team building experience and then he told us about the project and I thought it was a great idea,” said Tucker Logue, student. “It is nice knowing you will be helping people that need the help.”
Most of the students participating in the class joined with the desire to learn how to build a house and to have great teamwork. They didn’t expect to give to a worthy cause.
“It is good to give back to the community and we all really enjoy it,” Knowler said. “For us it is just a class and it is something we all enjoy doing. A lot of us want to go into the construction field and as we do it it doesn’t feel like voluntary work.”
The hope is for the home to be completed by the end of the semester before starting on a second home.
“They get to get out in the community and realize some of the things outside of our high school and we are able to build something that will benefit people outside of the community,” Andersen said.