Haleyville Center of Technology's labor of love up for bid at 9-1-1 Festival

Drafting teacher Jamie White works with students on the gabled porch of the tiny house.

HALEYVILLE - Those attending the 9-1-1 Festival in Haleyville this weekend will have the opportunity to purchase all kinds of wonderful  things - including a house!
Many of the students taking coursework at the Haleyville Center of Technology during the past school year joined forces to build a tiny house, which will be on display during the 9-1-1 Festival this weekend, with sealed bids being accepted.  The house - which measures  386 square feet, plus an extended living area with its gabled end front porch, contains living space, a kitchen, bunk beds with a full size bunk on the bottom and a loft area that can be used as an additional bedroom.    Amazingly, the bathroom has a full-size shower, a rarity in many tiny homes.
The home is built to last, with 1x6 stud walls and 2x4 rafters underneath the metal roofing.  The tongue-and-groove walls give it a cabin feel, while the recessed lighting adds a modern touch. The home is extremely well insulated, which will help with heating and cooling costs.  Vinyl siding around the home gives it the curb appeal it needs to fit into any setting, whether it’s on a lake, in the woods or in a neighborhood setting.
The home’s construction has been a labor of love not just for Haleyville COT students, but also for the teachers, especially agriconstruction teacher Jeff McKinney and drafting teacher Jamie White, who worked side-by-side with their students for the entire school year to build the home.  The project sprang from a conversation HHS Assistant Principal and Haleyville COT Director John McCullar had with Tim Canida, owner of Alabama Custom Cabinets, McCullar told attendees of a recent Haleyville Area Chamber of Commerce meeting.
 “(Tim) said that Lincoln High School started a tiny home business.  I talked with him more about it, checked into it, then talked with Mr. McKinney and Coach White.  They were all onboard and ready to go,”  McCullar said.
Dr. William Bishop Director of Administrative Services for Haleyville City Schools, applied for and obtained a $50,000 grant from the state to use toward the project to purchase the  equipment and supplies needed for it, and White and McKinney began developing the curriculum and the plan to design and construct the home.
“Mr. White and I put our heads together so his kids could work with our kids to make this thing come to life,”  McKinney said, adding that he and White   made sure to incorporate many opportunities for students to touch the tools, the materials and see exactly what is needed to build a house.
Work began on the home last fall at a pavilion near the softball field.
“If it rained, it would shut us down.  If it was cold and windy, we told the kids to suck it up and let’s go,”  White said.
“We have dealt with all the elements, all the issues you would see on a worksite,”  McKinney added.
McKinney and White did not take the easy way out constructing the home, even choosing more difficult ways of accomplishing tasks sometimes to help teach their students important lessons.  For example, the gabled porch has a separate roof on it, which was by design to make the project even more educational.
“We did this to give them more opportunities to learn something different and to step up their credentialing when they go out into the world,”  McKinney said, adding this will help the students stand out from the crowd when it comes to gaining employment.  
Placing vertical instead of horizontal vinyl siding on the home was also by design, McKinney added.
“It’s more difficult, but they learned problem-solving skills,”  McKinney said.
White added that the snap-in flooring was also an opportunity to teach problem-solving skills.
“We did the flooring in two days.  That’s a real big feat when every hour-and-a-half you are having to change kids and teach them how to do it all over again,”  White said.
The walls were a massive process to create, yet add so much to the home’s overall appeal.  
“All the walls are 1x6, tongue-and-groove, V-joint.  We will never do this color again,”  White said with a laugh.  “It was touching the wood nine times before it’s ever put on the wall.  We had to bring it in, stain it, take it back out to dry, bring it back in and paint over it, let it dry for five minutes, wipe it off, cut it to length, then carry it into the house to hang.”
A covered area was added to the back of the agriscience classroom as the school year progressed, allowing the students to move the home, which sits on a metal trailer for transport purposes, underneath a roof so students could continue working on it during the winter months.
“When it started coming to life, the kids really got excited about it.  There were days when we were putting in the insulation and everyone was itching that they didn’t want to do it anymore, but they sucked it up and went on,”  McKinney said.  
“Our kids learned how to plumb.  They learned about the different parts of wire, how to pull wire throughout a structure and how to hook up the plugs, switches and lights,”  McKinney added.
For now-graduates Blake Hood and Blade McDonald, the lessons they learned working on the tiny house will carry with them the rest of their lives, they said.
“You learn when you are doing something like this what would be better to put in first.  You learn a lot from it - electrical, woodworking, a lot of different stuff,”  Hood said.

Recent graduates Blade McDonald and Blake Hood work within the tiny house as part of their coursework.
Recent Haleyville High School graduates Blade McDonald, left,
and Blake Hood work within the tiny house.

“I was putting in insulation, (doing) electric work, woodwork.  I’ve learned how to square up measurements,”  McDonald detailed.
“No matter what you do in life, knowing how to do things like this will put a roof over your family’s head.  It will help you and your family,”  Hood said.
It’s those very lessons that Haleyville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Holly Sutherland is happy to see students learning.
“I believe in my heart and have said for years that our Center of Technology truly saves lives and changes our community.   The teachers in our Center of Technology give our students skills, love and support, guide them and mentor them,”  Sutherland said.  “We are so proud to have this on campus.  We want kids to come out of Haleyville City Schools and go into businesses, industries and the community and be valuable employees who can on the first day start giving back, feeling good and prepared for their next step.”
The tiny house project has truly been collaborative for the Haleyville COT, with the welding, automotive and family consumer classes also having a hand in bringing the project to completion.  
The project has not gone unnoticed by the state, with officials from the State Department of Education visiting  earlier this year to see how the students and faculty were working together on the house.  Officials were so impressed that they plan to encourage other schools around the state to take on these types of projects.
“It’s about teaching these students all these different facets.  They get electrical, plumbing, construction and framing, interiors and drafting design.  To be able to draw a house and be able to have a part to build it, to me, that’s as good of  a hands-on approach as we can have,”  McCullar said.
McCullar, White and McKinney have nothing but thanks for the community partners who have been so generous when it comes to the project.  Businesses they would like to thank include:

• Mill Creek Lumber;
• KITH Kitchens;
• Shelter Components;
• Alabama Custom Cabinets;
• LaSalle Bristol;
• C& C Countertops - Phil Campbell;
• S&S Building Supply;
• Crumpton’s Plumbing & Electrical;
• Elliott True Value;
• Great Southern Lumber;
• Elixir Industries;
• Smith Salvage - Double Springs;
• Winston Home Builders.

“Local businesses have been awesome. Everybody wants to see this succeed and wants to support our kids,”  McCullar said.
Sutherland is very proud of the students and staff who have made this house a reality.  
“Our children have done a phenomenal job under the direction of Mr. McKinney and Coach White, learning manufacturing skills they can use if they want to go into a manufacturing job, engineering or design,”  Sutherland said.
The project has been such a success, that the faculty is already planning to do it again next year.


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