Into the Tiny House

 Looking at the construction of the tiny house and the design that took place behind the scenes

Throughout the year many have seen the tiny house taking form during the school year. Many students having taken part in its construction. At the beginning of this school year industrial arts teacher Joshua Pounds and his classes started work on the tiny house. This is the school’s first ever tiny house, having been both designed and constructed by the students. Since this is the first time there were a few minor kinks in the plan, but were properly dealt with and prepared for. The building of the tiny house is done in several parts, as it is done in layers. Each needed to be placed up in a specific order. The house has been built throughout the year and is scheduled to be completed during the second week of May.

“We’ve done everything to the tiny house, including putting up frames, building stairs, putting up plywood, roofing and putting tin siding up,” senior Casey Duft said. “I’ve never done metal studs before. Other than that, I’ve pretty much done everything else before. I’ve been over to Hutch CC doing residential construction.”

The students helping with the house all have different levels of experience they bring to the table, with each learning new information about construction and regulations related to construction. Anyone interested in learning about construction was encouraged to take the class.

“I wanted to bring the tiny house here for students that don’t get the chance to be able to go to the vocational school in Hutchinson,” Pounds said.“In addition to just getting the basics of electrical, plumbing, framing  house, siding, and flooring so that a basic student that wouldn’t go to a vocational school the opportunity to experience some of it.”

There is a difference between regular houses and tiny house. A normal house typically is 2,600 square feet, while a tiny house is 400 square feet or less. The tiny house will be 220 square feet and features a bathroom, kitchen and loft. While the idea of building a tiny house may seem simple and easy to do, there is actually a lot more that goes into making and designing a house than meets the eye.

“At the beginning of the year we went over budgeting, materials, and codes and with this class. We go from the start of the school year to the very end of the school year,” Pounds said. “They go through how to order the material, budgeting for the materials, and, on top of that, they have to figure out weight because we’re only allowed 1,400 pounds.”

While construction of the tiny house began this year, it was not the start of the project it began last year with the drafting process. Plans had to be made before they started building, and students were a part of that.

“I had decided to do the tiny house the previous school year, so my first year here I decided to do it in January. I had my drafting kids design the house,” Pounds said. “I had a handful of kids in it last year, and they designed it. They all had a say in what it would look like.”

Many of the students taking part in the construction have had prior experience in constructing. Most have either worked on or built normal size houses and there is a transition. Between the two types of houses. There are differences between the two in building, combined with the different ways to building specific parts of a house. Because of this there was a shift in gears for some students who have had prior experience in building houses.

“I enjoy the challenges the tiny house brings. For example, I didn’t know about the new insulation style and the electrical were both new challenges for me,” junior Caleb Fenwick said. “I’ve never really run electrical before I mean, we built our house, and it was similar. But I’m used to putting insulation in by hand but they used spray foam insulation.”

Throughout the year there have been several minor changes made to the tiny house. There are no special features that set it apart from other tiny houses. The biggest challenge for them was the budget, but it was thought out and designed with money in mind.

“The entire exterior has stayed the same, along with the floor plan. Nothing changed from the floor plan and the exterior that the drafting kids had designed,” Pounds said. “It was only the little things here and there that we changed throughout the year because when you figured something up at the beginning of the year there is always xyz amount of money.”

The financing is often the most important part to a project, along with it being the most limiting one. Pounds’ budget was set at $25,000. They started from the ground up and have built it from there. After its completion, Pounds plans on selling the house, and all money received will go back to the school.

“The school district is funding it so the students are able to have the opportunity to experience it. At the end of the year, we’ll be marketing it,” Pounds said. “Once it’s sold, that money will go back to the school, and any profit made off of it will be dispersed throughout the school as needed.”

This project has provided several beneficial experience-such as financing, budgeting, safety codes and basic building principles-to the students. Some will use this knowledge again in the future.

“I’m working on my second, house, and after this year, I’ll have completed two houses in the class and will get my certificate,” Duft said. “I’m going to be pouring concrete for a living, but I will also be building some houses and remodeling some. So it’ll help me there.”