Project Renovate Class Proposed


Madeline Nelson

A new course might be offered for students to take this fall at AHS.  The course is called Project Renovate. If they choose to take it, students will have the chance to renovate a house or property of some sort in our community. This is a class that will meet at both the job site and in the classroom.  

AHS Principal Heather McKay said that the school has always looked for ways to do more career technology things. Courses similar to this one used to be offered through Iowa Western, but they got too expensive and the school wanted to have one that wasn’t “tied to a community college.”

In the classroom, students will meet for 90 minutes each day for 180 days. Each unit of the hands-on experience works with a chapter in the book Modern Carpentry by Willis Wagner. Therefore, students will have to read over the chapter and become familiar with the material before taking their knowledge to the job site and completing the task.  

Technology teacher Derek Bair said that students may have to “participate in research activities, compare and contrast materials, identify state-of-the-art construction techniques, complete a rigorous safety demonstration and demonstrate proficiency in measurements.” Students will also attend a math class that will help with the math needed for the construction.  The math classes are equivalent to Geometry or Algebra Two.

On the jobsite, students must behave properly and treat it as if it were school property as it will have the same guidelines as the student handbook.  They must make their own transportation arrangements to get to the jobsite; the school will not offer transportation.  

During the year, students will have the chance to do many new things to help with the renovation process.  These include: landscaping, siding, work on the windows and doors, roof work, interior framing, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, insulation, drywall, paint and staging the home. The project itself is still undecided. “We may be looking at new construction, partial addition or a garage,” Bair said.  

Students will have the opportunity to take lots of information away from this class.  A major one being that it will provide them with the proper information they will need to rent or own a home of their own.  It will also give them an insight on jobs in construction related fields.  Bair said he is excited about the “new opportunities” the student will get from taking the course.  

As of now, Bair will be the teacher in charge of what the students learn in the classroom. The project Steering Committee is looking into hiring someone such as a project supervisor that would be a licensed contractor.  There would be many professionals on the site teaching and training students more about their specified field, some of these being plumbers, carpenters, electricians, or mechanical personnel.  Bair said, “At this time we are looking at starting simple, one day this may be an opportunity for other teachers to be involved.”

The class will be a two-period class that meets every day.  It has an opportunity for students to earn six credits, four being elective and two from the math course that is taken.  Students eligible to take the course are sophomores, juniors, and seniors.  

As of now, it is scheduled to let students sign up in the spring to take it in the fall, but not all the details have been figured out.  Bair said that every new course comes with its own “unique problems,” but he enjoys the opportunity to solve them. Regarding the new course, McKay said, “It’s a real opportunity to have some real value beyond school experience. Hopefully some of these kids find a niche and it leads to future employment.”