Last Tuesday I had the privilege of visiting the local Healdsburg High School. Ray Holley had invited me down to see a Tumbleweed Epu being built by sixteen high school students.
A few years ago the industrial arts program at the high school was being shut down because of lack of funds. A group of business people including Ray Holley decided to step forward and not let this happen as these skills are really needed by the young people and allow them to get jobs after graduating. These business people raised enough money to continue the program and called the organziation CASA (Construction and Sustainability Academy).
The class building the Epu is the Advanced construction class of sixteen students. Their instructor Glen Schaeziein has an interesting challenge as he only has the students for five hours a week which is divided into three one hour sessions and one two hour session. They have made great progress as the construction has only been going on since early October. The plan is to have the house completed by this Spring.
Jay Shafer donated the Tumbleweed Epu plans and the class is modifying them a bit to take on the look of local structures. The class involves bringing in professional people like electricians, plumbers, and even a chef to help in the design of the kitchen. The business people advise the students and then the students go on and do the actual work.
I will stop by a few more times before the house is complete and give you updates on the progress.
This home will be fully self contained, much like an RV with water tanks, etc. and will be set up to be plugged into the grid. They are looking at Solar, but do not have the funds to set it up with this house.
The house will be in the big local parade in May and will then go on to the Home and Garden show at the Sonoma County fairgrounds where the house will be sold and the funds from the home will be used for next year’s class who will build another tiny house. The goal is to build a new home every year. This way each home will be funded ahead of time. This original house is has been funded by donations from local businesses and the community.
It is so exciting to see this happening in our local community and I would love to see this take off in every high school across the country. The students are really proud of their work and excited about all the new things they are learning in the process. Please share this story with your local high school and see if you can get something started in your area too.
You can learn more about CASA on their Facebook page. Thank you Ray for sharing this exciting program with me.