Building Construction Campers Think Small
Tiny, in fact. This summer nearly 30 rising eleventh and twelfth grade students began construction on a tiny house on wheels during Building Construction Camp. Conducted by faculty, staff and students from Auburn’s McWhorter School of Building Science, the camp is a venture to introduce students to a career in construction.
Mike Hosey, McWhorter School of Building Science Field Lab Manager and professor, was in charge of this summer’s camp. During their week-long stay on campus, participants learned about estimating, scheduling, and construction safety— including how to use power tools. Several faculty members also were on hand to teach at the camp.
Professor Eric Wetzel demonstrated an advanced 3D model in a virtual environment in the CIT (Construction Information Technology) 3-D modeling class. Campers could visualize the finished tiny house on wheels. Students put on special glasses, and were able to walk inside and go up the loft, walk around the outside and actually see what it would look like before it was even built.
Other classes included a safety and control class taught by Professor Alan Bugg, in which they learned to work with safety as a priority and to use power tools and ladders. Campers learned about scheduling from Professor Paul Holley and estimating from Professor Lauren Redden. They also were taught about construction materials and methods and how to plan and safely manage a construction project.
Campers worked on the construction project at the Building Science Field Lab under the direction of Hosey. The final product will be a house that measures 8' x 18', equipped with a kitchen, a bathroom and shower, a stacked washer and dryer unit, a fold-out dining table, and a futon. A (8' x 12') loft that can accommodate a queen-size bed will have with a sky light. A 3-foot porch will complete the house.
“Students got a first-hand look at what a career in construction and the Building Science program might entail,” said Hosey. “There were opportunities for hands-on experience, and each participant utilized and practiced their learned skills throughout the week while working together to build the tiny house. As functional as a traditional home, the tiny house will be built to last and uses traditional building techniques and materials. The completed house will be donated to the Fuller Center, a non-profit ecumenical Christian housing ministry. Students are initiated into service learning where they are doing something for their community.”
Rhodes Miller, a high school student from Dallas, Texas, was one of the students on campus for the camp. “I’ve learned a lot about construction at this camp in the past few days and it really makes me want to pursue a career in construction,” said Miller.
Kimberly Tafolla, another camper, felt that the work was a lot harder than it seemed. “Although I still want to go into the construction industry, I prefer to go into estimating and scheduling.”
The camp was organized by Auburn Youth Programs in the Office of Professional and Continuing Education. Summer programs are designed to educate and inspire youth in a variety of academic, athletic and extracurricular endeavors. Camp participants stay at Auburn's resident dormitories, eat at campus dining facilities, and enjoy evening social and recreational activities under 24/7 supervision.