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Want a ‘tiny house?’ Kirkwood has one for sale

A tiny house built in a storage container sits outside at Kirkwood’s Linn County Regional Center in Hiawatha on Friday, May 5, 2017. The tiny house, built by high school students enrolled in classes at the center, will be auctioned off. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Inside a storage container, high school students have built their own “tiny house,” complete with a gas range stove, Murphy bed, recessed lighting and cable TV.

Students built the 266-square-foot home as part of Kirkwood Community College’s Architecture, Construction and Engineering Career Academy.

In the community college program — one of more than two dozen “high school academies” at Kirkwood — students earn both high school and college credit.

The shrunken space resembles the tiny homes that have been popularized in recent years by several house-hunting and home design television programs.

“It’s been embraced by popular culture,” said Tierney Hein, a Kirkwood spokeswoman. “To be a part of that is really exciting for (students).”

Jenna Bartelme, 17, a student at Linn-Mar High School, said she helped patch the home’s drywall, design the kitchen and install the walk-in shower.

But would she live in an 8-by-40-foot space?

“I would — if it was just me, and I designed it,” she said.

Beginning Monday and continuing through Friday, the public can tour the home, located at the Linn County Regional Center, 1770 Boyson Road, Hiawatha, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Interested buyers may submit a sealed bid until 4 p.m. June 15. Bid forms may be requested by contacting Peg Sprengeler at The Kirkwood Center, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids, via email at [email protected] or by calling (319) 398-5555.

The finished space is valued at $24,000, according to Kirkwood officials.

In a news release, college officials said while homes under 660 square feet are not allowed within Linn County’s jurisdiction, not all surrounding counties have regulations on home sizes. They encouraged those interested in purchasing the home to contact their local building department to determine options in their area.

Kirkwood instructor Allen Witt said he thinks the tiny house would make a good cabin for short trips to nearby rivers and lakes.

A rural area would be ideal, he said.

About 18 students worked on the tiny house, Witt said, installing the plumbing, choosing the interior paneling and wiring the electricity.

“It’s prettier than you’d think on the inside,” Hein said. “You think you know what the inside of a storage container looks like, and this is such a huge change.”

For the high school students in the course, the project could springboard them into careers such as carpenters, masons and plumbers.

“The most important thing I learned this year was … the composition of how things go together,” said Nathaniel Allaire, 18, who wants to be an architect. “Plumbing, electric, the basics of construction — it really helps to know that.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8330; [email protected]