TIPP CITY — On a rainy afternoon, students arrive in the Tippecanoe High School wood shop and wait for their assignments before heading outside. Work is underway on not one, but two tiny houses and the class splits up to work on the nearly completed house parked on a trailer outside or the frame of the second in the shop.
Student Kyler Tateman has worked on the first tiny house since the project started last school year.
“We actually got pretty far that year. And it was just kind of cool to see it progress to now — and now it’s almost done,” he said.
The first tiny house measures 8.5 by 24 feet and has electricity, kitchen appliances and most of its interior walls. It will be featured at the Dayton Home and Outdoor Living Show March 16-18. It features two lofts, a full bathroom and kitchen, lots of natural lighting and rooftop access.
He also hopes the Dayton Home and Outdoor Living Show will draw more attention to the project and perhaps a potential buyer. The first house will be sold to generate funds for the next one.
The second house, in the very early stages, will be smaller at 8.5 by 16 feet. When it is complete, it will be donated to someone in need of housing, instructor Jim Kitchen said.
In addition to valuable construction and home repair skills, Kitchen hopes students also learn the value of giving back to the community. He aims to work with an area organization to make sure the house goes to someone who needs it.
“I really want kids to understand that, yes, this will drive our program and allow us to keep doing this,” Kitchen said of the sale. “But there’s people out there who are struggling in their day-to-day lives and may not have the type of housing that they should have.”
As the scope of the project has doubled, enrollment in the class has also rapidly increased. In its first year, there were 41 students. Now there are 191.
“That’s almost 25 percent of the school,” Kitchen said.
The project is largely funded by donations and grants, although the $30 class fee has helped fund the supplies as the class has grown. Adding a second house gives more students increased opportunities to learn different skills, and cuts down on confusion created by multiple classes working on the same house.
“I want them to understand that there’s always a need for people who can do these things,” Kitchen said.
Technically an art class, students enrolled say its unlike any art class they’ve ever taken.
“I started this semester and none of this insulation, none of the ceiling was done. And now — it’s just crazy that students can put all this together,” Nolan Haas said.
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