By Kevin Pink
Indian Hills Information Director
Students in the Construction Technology program at Indian Hills Community College recently put the finishing touches on their latest project, a house on Washington Street in Centerville the college built in a partnership with the Chariton Valley Regional Housing Trust Fund. It’s the fifth home IHCC and CVRHTF have collaborated on, according to Rachel Hoffman, Executive Director of the housing organization. “It has been a great way to provide affordable housing in Centerville,” Hoffman explained. “Ours is an income-based program so potential buyers have to qualify. We take an empty lot or non-habitable house and the IHCC students build a beautiful, energy-efficient, low maintenance home that will be there for years to come.”
Hoffman said they are ready to break ground on the sixth CVRHTF house and Jon Dorman, director for the IHCC Construction Technology program, said the hope is to complete ten houses and possibly more, enhancing the city’s housing stock. He described it as a “fantastic partnership” between neighboring property owners, the college, CVRHTF, the city of Centerville, local businesses and the new homeowners.
Indian Hills students have been building houses in Centerville since the early 1970s in one of the college’s oldest technical programs. Structures that are a product of the IHCC program are scattered throughout the community. And Dorman said students get to experience the total building project. “We actually build and pour the foundation and basement ourselves,” he said. “The only parts we won’t do are the excavation, sewer and water hookups, and HVAC. We’re just about a one-stop shop, giving our students experience in nearly every aspect of residential construction.”
Dorman said they have to overcome challenges, things like weather and sewer-line depths, “and the fact we are learning on the job means we don’t move as fast as a professional crew.”
The program instructor emphasized that the training students receive when they are pursuing a diploma or a degree is invaluable. “Whether students go on to work for a construction company, become their own boss, or have the knowledge that allows them to maintain their own house, we feel like they will be very well-prepared after they complete our program,” Dorman said.
Dorman points out that jobs in the construction field are at an all-time high, with continued growth expected for years to come. “Great jobs can have a starting wage around $45,000 a year,” he said, “and they include good benefits and the opportunity to work on some really cool projects.”
There are three diploma or degree options available in the Indian Hills Construction Technology program meaning students are able to finish their academic requirements in 12-24 months.
With the advent of a new academic year, the Indian Hills students are beginning work on their latest project for the CVRHTF, one that Dorman said “comes from an idea that we gleaned from the Internet and then put our own twist on it. We are extremely excited to get started!”
(This is a monthly column, provided by Indian Hills Community College)