Madras High School Tiny House

The Construction Engineering program at Madras High School did not exist until 2 years ago. At the time, the school had not had any vocational programs for at least 4 years. The school district approached me, a general contractor at the time, and asked if I would start the program.

I had no teaching experience and had never had the desire to teach but I love this town and the school that taught me so much. I decided to start the program and I never dreamed we would have around 85 teenagers daily in the shop.

I came up with a 3 year plan, and during the first year, I wanted to just train the students and get them ready for building a house. The students built doghouses, picnic tables, Adirondack chairs, anything we could sell to hopefully be self-sustaining while learning the construction trades.

Year two involved an invitation-only class with the prerequisite of taking two Construction classes prior and to be willing to give up two periods in a row to dedicate to building a tiny house. This dropped our usual numbers from 25-30 students down to 7 but it allowed more hands-on and more consistency.

We started by buying a complete set of drawings from Oregon Cottage Company and altering them to meet residential code. A scaled model out of balsa wood came next. Once the model was complete we started building on a trailer purchased from Iron Eagle Trailers. In the mix, we were very grateful to take a field trip to Tiny Heirloom and tour their amazing facility.

The students picked many of their finishes based on what the toured. I am proud to say that the students did 99% of the build and probably were very tired of me making them take things apart and redo them but we wanted it perfect and sellable.

In all, there were about 30 different students that worked on this project ranging from sophomores to seniors. We had 3 great ladies in the mix and because of our location, we had many Native Americans, and Hispanics as well.

The project required licensed subcontractors and our students were able to observe and get their hands in the Plumbing, Electrical, and HVAC as well. We “broke ground” during the second week of September and finished up the second week of June.

Thanks to all the hard work and dedication of our students, we have one very well crafted tiny home. All profit received from the tiny house goes back to the program to build more great projects in the future.

Here is our Craigslist ad; https://portland.craigslist.org/clc/tro/d/tiny-house-madras-high-school/6619023134.html

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