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South Tahoe High School students to build tiny houses for community

Laney Griffo
lgriffo@tahoedailytribune.com
South Tahoe High School students stand in the frame of a shed, their semester project this year. Provided

 

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A new school project will not only help students get real world work experience, it will also make a small dent in South Lake Tahoe’s housing problem.

Starting next year, students at South Tahoe High School who are in the construction path of career technical education will begin building tiny houses.

“We came up with this idea of adding tiny houses in upper level classes to add more diversity to classes and have a CAPstone project which will tie everything they’ve learned together in one project,” said Lake Tahoe Unified School District’s Kim Carr.



South Tahoe High students work in the construction room. Provided

South Tahoe Career & Technical Education offers technical skills training to help students enter the workforce right from school. Construction is one of the 12 CTE pathways offered.

Students in the construction pathway learn and develop basic construction skills such as framing, electrical and plumbing. The classes are taught by professionals in the field.



“We want to attract students to professions with upward mobility and growing demand,” Carr said.

The tiny houses will come to the students as kits, which they will assemble on a trailer so when it’s done, it can easily be relocated.

Students in the environmental engineering pathway will help design the interior of the houses.

Carr said there is very little gender diversity in the construction pathway or ethnic diversity in environmental engineering. So by having both pathways work on the project, she hopes it will inspire students to want to learn both pathways.

“Environmental engineering students might want to build the thing they’ve designed and construction students might want to have a hand in designing the thing they’re building,” Carr said.

Once the houses are completed, they will be sold at cost to the disadvantaged in the community. They can also help people connect with financial programs to help purchase houses.

The only reason the school is selling the house is to make enough money to purchase materials for the next class.

“The revenue is needed to sustain the program,” Carr said.

A grant has allowed the school to purchase their first set of materials as well as send the instructor, Tom Castles, to get additional training.

Carr said the school is currently tracking the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the city of South Lake Tahoe to stay up-to-date on additional dwelling unit and permitting policies.

“It’s a little piece of helping the housing problem and construction is in great demand so its workforce development,” Carr said.

To learn more about CTE, visit ltusd-cte.org.


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