Construction class house on track for May completion

Greene County school board members, and particularly board president Sam Harding, are closely watching the high school construction class as the seven-student crew scrambles to complete a house project that is now in its second year.

208 E. Wilcox Way
208 E. Wilcox Way

Construction class instructor Chuck Wenthold attended the Greene County board’s regular meeting March 12 with a schedule in hand and a tentative completion date in mid-May, the week the seniors in the class finish school. The 1,350-square-foot house is located in the 200 block of E. Wilcox Way.

Harding has expertise in the construction business. He had previously asked Wenthold for a schedule and suggested computer software to help him with the task. “It looks good. This is what I wanted to see,” Harding said about a schedule Wenthold had done with FastTrack project management software. “Now you’ve got to stick to it.”

For 16 years, students in the construction class built a house start-to-finish in one school year . The 2012-13 school year ended, however, with a roofless house without windows, doors, or any interior  work.

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A change in instructors

Dan Benitz taught the construction class for 16 years and retired in 2012. Veteran teacher Chuck Wenthold, who had taught the woods class and other industrial technology classes, was assigned the construction class. Dave Destival, another veteran teacher who primarily teaches drafting classes, helped Wenthold.

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Instructors Wenthold and Dave Destival explained to the Jefferson-Scranton school board last June that construction was delayed by legal problems involved with the purchase and subdivision of the lot. Typically the foundation for the “school” house is poured in September. The foundation for this house wasn’t poured until November (2012). Also, there were only four students in the class last year. “For the amount of students we had, they got a lot of work done,” Wenthold told the board last summer.

Wenthold hired contractors to put on the roof and install windows and doors last June. He assured the board that this year’s class would finish the house by the end of the second trimester (late February), and he planned projects for the third trimester that would give students the experiences they missed by coming into the project underway. Last week Wenthold reported the students were putting up the ceiling, with the walls yet to go. Finish work is yet to be done.

This year’s class has only seven students. Wenthold wasn’t asked at the board meeting if there were reasons other than a small class size that had delayed the work.

Wenthold provided budget figures to the board. To date, $136,406 has been put into the house. Wenthold estimates total cost to be $187,137. Last summer Wenthold had an estimate of $194,500 if contractors did all the work remaining at that time, and an estimate of $180,000 if students finished the house.

Wenthold told the board he hopes to have a floor plan for the board to approve in June for the 2014-15 house and that he wants to get the building permit in July. He’d like to have the foundation started in August.

Harding asked Wenthold to return to the Greene County board’s April meeting with an update on progress. “ We’re at a critical stage making a decision on it. I’d want to make a decision on a house plan if we’re going to do it in June. I don’t want to get that process behind,” Harding said.

Class registration for next year has not yet been done and Wenthold doesn’t know how many students might be in the class. “We need more than five or six,” Harding said.

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