Local students getting hands on lesson in building

Correspondent

PLYMOUTH - Word of mouth can be a powerful tool - especially to get power tools in high school students hands.

For the 33rd year students of the Plymouth Building Trades class will unveil their newly built home on Ohio Street in Plymouth and put it up for sale beginning with their Open House on June 4 from 1 p.m to 4 p.m.

Three years ago 12 students built the home, last year the number taking the class doubled. This year, instructor P.T. McKinnis actually had to turn applicants for the course away.

"We had 40 people apply to take the course," said McKinnis. "It was a very hard decision to make, you really don't want to turn anybody away that wants to learn but we had to do it. It's a hands on experience and we couldn't be fair to anybody with that many students. I really wish we had been able to take everybody but we started the house with 27 students."

Over the years the program has helped many students get a leg up on jobs in the construction industry, including an alum who came back to help this year. Several jobs are subcontracted on the house - carpet, finish drywall in the house's interior and the roof. This year's roofing contractor gave some instruction of his own.

"Eric Simms was a former student and he was the contractor on the roof this year," said McKinnis. "He would take four or five students at a time up there with him to help and he took the time to show them how to do it. It was really helpful because that let me spend some extra time with the other guys doing things in the house."

The class is run just like a regular job site, with students showing up for work and having regular assignments. In the course of the instruction students have an opportunity to try their hand at all aspects of building a home, especially one in particular.

"I don't know that you can actually teach a work ethic but there are ways to help your students develop one," said McKinnis. "That's something that we know is very important to employers and that's something I work pretty hard to help them with."

Local realty companies take turns selling the homes each year and this year Sam Goebel of RE/MAX Oak Crest Realty will have the listing. The house will go on the market at $139,500.