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Wasatch High School students build home through technical education program

Wasatch High School students are building this home on district land west of Heber City.
Grace Doerfler / KPCW
Wasatch High School students are building this home on district land west of Heber City.

Students at Wasatch High School are learning to build homes through the district’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.

District leaders were impressed as they stood in the living room of a house their students were building Tuesday afternoon, March 26.

“The kids have learned an amazing amount this year with what we’ve been able to teach them, what they’ve been able to see,” Doug Kinsman said.

He teaches Foundations of Construction and Homebuilding classes at Wasatch High School.

Through the district’s CTE program, his students get hands-on training about every stage of constructing a home, from sketching designs to installing plumbing.

He said they finish his course with an abundance of practical skills.

“They’ve learned how to run a multitude of saws, cut angles, use nail guns; everything that comes into actually finishing a house, the kids have had their hands on, which has been really, really neat,” he said.

He has just shy of 40 students in his ninth-grade foundations class. Students in the homebuilding course have been putting their skills to use at the construction site on land owned by the district, west of Heber: 15 last semester, seven this spring. At each stage of the process, industry professionals help the high schoolers learn.

Construction is underway in the home's living room.
Grace Doerfler / KPCW
Construction is underway in the home's living room.

Once the house is finished, a district employee will be able to move in. Homes built by Wasatch High students are sold or leased at cost.

CTE director Weston Broadbent said the district chose an employee for the home based on need and impact in the district.

“He was commuting every day, had three children and a wife, and he literally started to cry when we told him what the rate would be and how we would make it work up here,” Broadbent said.

Once complete, the house will have a primary bedroom on the first floor, two upstairs bedrooms, and two bedrooms in the basement.

Meanwhile, as construction wraps on this house, students are already hard at work designing the next one. They’ll build it down the street.