Seniors at Northside ISD’s Construction Careers Academy have taken on the biggest challenge of their high school careers- to design and build five 384-square foot micro homes as part of the magnet school’s first Parade of Homes building competition.
Five teams, each comprised of approximately 15 students, began their work last fall and have until April 30 to complete their homes. Teams are made up of students representing each strand of study at CCA: Construction Technology, Construction Management, Architectural Design, and Applied Engineering. A teacher also serves as Team Captain of each team. The goal is to sell each house at the end of the competition.
“The Parade of Homes competition is a new idea for us and it adds to the rigor of our curriculum,” says CCA Principal Phillip Edge. “These teams are learning what it’s like to operate in a real-world setting and how to deal with obstacles and challenges that come up, like weather and time.”
Every day, weather permitting, the teams work on their homes during the last two class periods. They’re also able to work after school hours as long as they are supervised by a Team Captain. During final exam week in January, students took advantage of the Early Release Days to stay and work extra hours.
“The best part of this project is getting experience in the construction industry,” says senior Micah Hatchett. “I’ve learned you have to be a problem solver and that it’s important to put in the hours if you want to succeed.”
Supplies and funds were donated by partners and parents. Though each home looks very different from the outside, they each must have some of the same elements- a living area, kitchen, bathroom and sleeping area. Each must also be portable. That’s where the similarities and design features end.
“This is the biggest project we’ve ever worked on,” says senior Autumn Sancho. “It’s a lot more fun than it initially sounded and it has turned into an awesome competition. We are all contributing to this and I love the concept our team has chosen for our design.”
Students were able to use the skills they’ve honed in their almost four years at CCA, serving as architects, engineers, project managers, plumbers, carpenters, and electricians. Like in any construction job, they’ve been required to submit design plans, pull permits, adhere to building codes, and be ready for onsite inspections. They’ve also all had to pitch in, no matter their specific strand of study, to make sure progress is always being made. April 30 will be here before they know it and finishing touches will include staging the homes and working with a realtor to sell them. The CCA juniors will also be involved in landscaping projects.
“It doesn’t matter which team finishes first, it’s which teams get it done in the end,” says Hatchett.
Prizes will be awarded by a panel of judges on May 9 and the homes will be open for a community showcase on Saturday, May 17.
The competition was modeled after the Greater San Antonio Builders Association’s annual Parade of Homes.
Construction Careers Academy is a magnet school on the campus of Warren High School. It was funded by School Bond 2007.