- Meridian Ranch Elementary School
D49 Construction Program Marks Start of Home Build
In the fall semester of the 2022-23 school year, D49 students will spend the first of many days on a construction site that sits only a few feet from their classroom on the grounds of the Falcon Legacy Campus. In recognition of the official start of the D49 Construction Program’s home build project, Patriot High School hosted a symbolic groundbreaking ceremony Friday, September 23.
The event kicks-off the next phase of a long-range plan to bring this unique opportunity to D49 students. One of the first major hurdles to clear included creating a learning space for the construction program. That box was checked with the completion of the construction trades building on the FLC in 2019. Steve Gard, PHS principal, and a list of guest speakers shared a few words inside the workshop-style building to start the ceremony.
“One of the first things I participated in upon getting hired was the grand opening of [the construction trades] building, which was donated and built for this purpose,” Gard said. “Now here we are on the verge of literally building a house from the ground up right outside. It’s like watching a tree grow. It's allowed me to grow with it, and it's a really special experience for me.”
The home build project is a coordinated effort between D49, Careers in Construction Colorado and the Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs. George Hess, CICC chairman, noted that students are about to embark on an exciting learning experience.
“The home build program is truly an integral part of the success that we deem necessary for a proper careers in construction program,” Hess said. “My career as a homebuilder over 47 years is all about going out on a job site and seeing what we built. To put on paper and see what we build. Now these young people are going to be able to see that and experience that every day.”
About 40 D49 students will build the 1180 square foot, three-bedroom/two-bath house, on top of 15 properly spaced “mafia blocks” in a fenced off space to the north of the trades building. The concrete blocks will support the home, which could take two school years to complete.
Jim Baumann, industrial arts teacher at PHS will supervise the work in collaboration with Tim Murphy, owner of Murphy Custom Homes. As a part of the groundbreaking festivities, Murphy handed over a set of technical drawings that students will study and follow throughout the home-build project.
“It's a little bit intimidating and very exciting. I can't wait to get started,” Baumann said.
To ensure the workspace is level and steady, Baumann will add wood cribbing to the temporary concrete-block foundation. He anticipates the cribbing will be in place in October, prior to the start of fall break.
A team of students with an ambitious goal and a valuable set of life skills to gain will take it from there.