Anyone walking into the Lakeland Construction Trades home in progress would never guess that the house was being built by a group of 15 teenagers. “I’m confident that our students’ work is equal to the work professional contractors do,” commented Steve Sherck who has run the class for many years. “I would stand beside our houses compared to any other home in LaGrange.”
And while this year’s home is progressing steadily, the Lakeland Construction Trades class is already looking for interested clients for the 2012-2013 school year home.
While the idea of 17- and 18-year-olds building a home may be worrying, former clients of the class have nothing but good things to say about the work of the students. The class has been around for years and has earned a reputation with anyone who owns a construction trades home as well as with local contractors looking to hire students with this kind of experience out of high school and college.
Students in the construction trades class may have an advantage over professional contractors for reasons beyond free labor. Because the students are working slower than most companies would, mistakes are caught quickly and corrected efficiently and professionally. In addition to benefiting the homeowner, the class helps local students prepare for real, viable careers in the construction and contracting fields.
Students work throughout the school year from the very first day until the last day of the year and, additionally, put in 400 or more hours of volunteer work on the weekends and holidays to ensure that the house is built by their deadline and it is finished with the quality expected of them. “I want to teach my students to do things the right way. My goal is to prepare them for the next level of their lives,” Sherck added.
Property owners aren’t just handing over their home to kids to do whatever they want to. Homeowners are in complete control of the project from start to finish and play a very active role in the construction of their house. They choose the layout, the design, and the materials and make every decision needed to build their future home. The homeowner is the contractor, boss and funds the building and the students who build the home are only paid with experience and college credits, which reduces the cost of building a home drastically.
According to Sherck, the amount saved by a homeowner could be anywhere between $40,000 and $50,000.
The class is able to build homes on full basements as well as multiple-story homes. They do every step of the process besides laying foundation and plumbing. Electrical, painting, shingling, siding, and all other aspects of the house will be completed by the students themselves under the guidelines of the future homeowner.
Anyone interested in having the Lakeland Construction Trades build their home in the 2012-2013 school year can contact Steve Sherck at 260-499-2470, ext. 7419 to schedule a meeting. To see the quality of the end product, potential clients are welcome to walk through the home currently in progress and schedule walk-throughs of past homes by contacting Steve Sherck.