The sounds of machines buzzing emanates from the end of a long hallway in Tyler ISD’s state-of-the-art Career and Technology Center, which has all of the high-tech gadgets students and teachers could ask for.
As visitors approach the last shop in the corridor, they begin to recognize the sounds of machines familiar, if not slightly out of place right next door to an engineering and design class.
Inside buzz sawsare spinning and students are measuring the beams, which will be used to support a tiny house as it begins its journey from the shop to an eventual buyer’s property.
After students complete the slats for the building to sit on, it will be displayed in front of the CTC until it is sold.
Construction teacher Bobby Richardson keeps a watchful eye during the class, occasionally offering advice or telling a student to put on their safety glasses when they step into his shop.
Construction of the tiny house began just over a year ago, and has allowed students hands-on opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise.
“One of the things about roofing is we can mimic some things, but true roofing requires you to be you in the air,” Richardson said. “There’s nothing that can take the place of a real job.”
Working on a real project also means Richardson can reinforce the safety guidelines students must learn for their 10-hour training requirements through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
After hundreds of hours of instruction, work and hands-on building, the tiny house is now for sale.
The 8-by-10-foot building will hopefully net the students $2,900 to put toward building their next tiny house, which will be a bit bigger.
The house has electrical outlets, is fully insulated and constructed with a sturdy enough foundation that it can be moved.
The ideal buyer would be someone who wanted it for uses such as a craft room or a comfortable place to stay on their deer lease, Richardson said.
He said their partnership with the Tyler Area Builders Association helped make the students’ dreams a reality.
TABA also will have an electrician come and inspect the building and help students identify any areas that may not be up to code, and how to correct them.
Tyler ISD Senior Cortess Evans said working on the project has helped him get a firsthand look at his future career in construction management.
“This project helped me get familiar with the tools and time management,” Evans said. “It’s great to see it all come together and help out somebody that might need (the building).”
Classmate Zachary Morris said the class has helped him reinforce skills he has been learning.
“It’s enjoyable,” Morris said. “I get to see something I built with my own hands.”
Students who complete Construction Science 1 and 2 also will receive industry accreditation for their core certifications through the National Center for Construction Education & Research.
Richardson said the district also has applied for eligibility to begin teaching carpentry certifications. Those certifications are part of a proposal Tyler ISD sent to the Texas Education Agency to continue expanding its technical offerings.
For Richardson, the decision to move into education came about because he wanted to give other students the same opportunities to learn a trade that he had passed down to his own children.
“It makes my day very joyful to seem them accomplish something,” he said.
A CLOSER LOOK
For more information about the tiny houses or Tyler ISD’s construction science program, email firstname.lastname@example.org call 903-952-4028.