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Murray High Students Learn Building Skills While Constructing Home

Aug 10, 2015 09:41AM ● Published by Bryan Scott

Learning Building Skills

By Julie Slama

Murray High senior Scott Scheidell has spent hours of his school days the past two years on the third lot on Tripp Lane, across from Riverview Junior High. With other classmates, the construction management class built a home, from the framing to the finishing work, in two years. 

“It’s been a great class and we’ve gotten so much experience in building this home,” Scott said. “It’s just sad because I’ve loved working outdoors with these guys and now, we’re done.”

Scott, who said he enjoyed pouring concrete and doing the carpentry work best, received a full-year tuition scholarship from Southern Utah University after taking the state construction exam, filing an application and receiving a recommendation from his skilled and technology education teacher, Quinn Drury.

“Getting scholarships for these students is huge,” Drury said. “They’re motivated and hard-working good students who have learned a lot of skills and can build a home from start to finish.”

The seven students who received scholarships from Salt Lake Community College, Snow College, Southern Utah University, University of Utah, Utah State University and Weber State University and plan to continue studying in the construction management field are Dylan Drury, Noah Miller, Jake Murdock, Paulo Olmedo, Hailey Robb, Mackayla Schilling and Tyler Stettler. Three other students plan to enlist in the military, one plans to become a paratrooper, another wants to become a firefighter and another will be a heavy equipment apprentice.

Before building the home, the high school students must first complete at least one woodshop class before enrolling in the construction class.

Five students spent both years constructing this home, each putting in about 1,000 hours into the home, Drury said. However, all the students will have learned the skills with other project homes, either finishing up another home the year before beginning this one or they will be starting one this coming fall.

The home at 746 Tripp Lane started in 2013, where the first year focused on the structure including framing, cement work, flat work, roofing, windows, doors, drywall, painting, tiling, installing hardwood floors, installing cabinets and other house construction, Drury said. 

During the second year, students learned finishing techniques. They also earned college credit through Salt Lake Community College’s concurrent enrollment program and teamed up with Granite Technical Institute and SLCC for plumbing, electrical and cabinetry work. 

Drury said that the students did the work, building the house, however each step of the way, teachers watched and had students re-do something if it was wrong, providing a safety net.

Then, at the Murray High school project open house on May 28, the students led visitors through the 3,500-square-foot rambler that featured three bedrooms, two baths — one with a jetted bathtub — a three-car garage, a full basement, walk-in closets, cherry kitchen cabinets and granite countertops. The students answered questions about flatwork concrete, framing, footing, insulation, tile and hardwood flooring, three-tone painting, railings, finish trim and others.

“Our teacher pushed us to be the best, to learn everything we could and he kept us on track so we’d meet deadlines with both the house and applying for scholarships,” senior Tyler Stettler said. “I help my grandpa in the summers with construction work, pouring concrete and framing and I’m helping re-plaster and paint our family’s living room. What I’ve learned is some good basics I can use in house repair as well as in my career.”

Tyler said it wasn’t just the hands-on skills that Drury taught him, but also his management style.

“Quinn is very calm when he deals with problems and kids. He is under control and at the same time, encouraging and pushing us to do our best. He thoroughly and patiently explains how to do something and then, makes sure we understand. He’s the one who encouraged us to apply for scholarships and made sure we are achieving everything we can,” he said.

Besides being in class and working on the house, another way this group of students bonded was through entering Skills USA competitions, Drury said.

Four students placed in competitions: Jake Murdock taking second at state in job skill demonstration, Noah Miller receiving third place in carpentry, Makayla Schilling finishing fourth in job interview and Dylan Drury winning regionals in cabinet building.

“All of them are an excellent group of students who are focused and see the pathway to success,” Drury said.

The home currently is up for sale through a realtor. Proceeds will help Murray School District purchase future building lots for the next house so students can learn skills and continue their education in construction management, Drury said.


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