Ron Phillips' Payson High School construction class has been building homes for many years, but this year it will be easier for students to admire their work.
Phillips' class just finished framing and roofing an 1,800-square-foot home across the street from Payson High School. This is the first of four annual projects in which the class will build a home on a lot, across from the school, owned by Nebo School District.In the past, Phillips' classes have built homes at the school and transported them to the buyer's lot. Phillips said not having to construct a movable home has many advantages. The district can make more money because it does not have to pay about $3,000 in transportation costs. The district also does not have to worry about being prepared to deliver the home when the buyer is ready.
But Phillips said the real advantages are in the quality of training the students receive. The width of movable homes is restricted by state law. Now students can build homes with more features and more variety. Students can also do the foundation work. When the home is finished in the spring, students will learn for the first time how to install sprinkler systems, fencing and do landscaping.
"These are just more fields that we can give the kids training in," Phillips said. "The more trades they learn, the better chance they have of getting a job."
Six classes of more than 80 students work on the home each day. The two-story home will have three finished bedrooms, three baths, a sunken family room with a fireplace and a formal dining room with a vaulted ceiling. The outside will consist of aluminum siding, rock and stucco. When the home is finished the students will have done everything except install the carpet and linoleum.
"The kids get a well-rounded education in every aspect of building," Phillips said. "I tell them every year that they better build these houses better than a contractor would. If their work is unsatisfactory, I make them do it again."
In the spring the district will take closed bids on the home. Last year the district made more than $10,000 when it sold the home the class built. The money was used to purchase a piano for Mapleton Elementary School and video equipment for Payson High School.
Phillips said the class gives students who would sometimes drop out of school an opportunity to a learn a trade. He said more than 100 of his former students are now working locally in the home construction business.
"I've got a lot of former students around the valley making a lot more money than I am," he said.