Tiny House 2, Eagles building it bigger, better

Tiny House 2, Eagles building it bigger, better
Posted on 12/26/2017
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CONWAY — Paul Cail and his advanced building trades class at the Mount Washington Valley Career and Technical Center at Kennett High School are in the tiny house business again, but things are a whole lot different this time around.

For one thing, the Eagles are not competing in a contest against other schools. They are simply out to build the best tiny house they can by the end of the school year.

The project is well ahead of schedule, plus someone has already offered to buy it before a single wall has been insulated or a window installed.

During the 2016-17 school year, four schools took part in the first ever Tiny House New Hampshire initiative. In addition to Kennett, they were Alvirne High School in Hudson, Seacoast School of Technology in Exeter and Huot Career and Technical Center in Laconia.

The New Hampshire state lottery launched a scratch ticket game called "Tiny House Big Money" in January, and the house that took first place was to go to the winner.

The Eagles finished second in the statewide contest at the 50th N.H. State Home Show at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester on March 18-19.

The winning school was Huot of Laconia, which utilized members of the Lakes Region Home Builders Association workers to complete its tiny house.

While nothing in the rules forbade using pro help, Kennett's house was almost entirely student-built.

The non-winning houses were to be auctioned off and the proceeds divided between the participating schools and the home builders group.

However, other than the Huot house, Kennett's tiny house was the only other project completed.

It was listed for sale on the Home Builders' website and drew a bid of $20,000, which was below the requested minimum.

Eventually, it was posted on eBay, where it sold for $25,000. School officials still do not know who purchased it.

Cail and Virginia Schrader, director of the MWV Career and Technical Center, were “thrilled” with the job the students did in building the house. So thrilled, in fact, that they agreed to build another one this school year.

“It’s a much more relaxed environment this time,” Schrader said. “We don’t have the competition deadlines and pressure hanging over everyone.”

Kennett's tiny home last year totaled just 192 square feet, measuring 8 feet wide and 24 feet long. It came with a living room, kitchen, bathroom (shower and toilet) and sleeping loft. It had nine windows.

This year’s home, said senior Jack Sequin, totals more than 210 square feet and actually 6 feet longer and 6 inches wider, with a larger loft space. Like its predecessor, there will be a living room, kitchen, bathroom (shower and toilet), but that may be about it for similarities.

“I think we learned a lot from the first one,” Cail said. “We know how to better utilize space.”

Joining Sequin on the project are classmates Shiloh Ayotte, Sonny DaBica, Derek Dascoulias, Logan Eldridge, Andrew Evans, Eathan Frye, Shane Gauthier, William Green, Nathan Higgins, Ethan Lane, Wilfrid McAuliffe, Jake Tagliaferri and Luke Taylor, along with seniors Dylan West and Neil Harrison, who are working on the house as part of an independent study.

Ayotte, Green, Harrison and Sequin are lead builders on the project.

Cail and the students are getting creative with the floor. They’ve taken used wood pallets, including ones from The Conway Daily Sun, sanded them and made tongue-and-groove flooring our of them.

Sequin, who worked on last year's house, said the project started about a month ago.

“I like the whole aspect of building,” he said. “It’s what I want to do after I get out of school. Framing is my favorite part because if you mess up one piece, it throws everything else off.”

Eldridge said framing went “smoothly” and “quickly.”

This year, instead of having natural wooden walls, the walls are going to be drywalled and painted after they receive spray foam insulation.

Ayotte, a senior, enjoys the project.

“I did a little work on the house last year, but I’m still new to a lot of this," she said. "Mr. Cail had his most experienced builders work on last year’s house.”

Schrader said someone already is interested in buying the home, pretty much house unseen.

“It’s generating some interest,” she said.

“We’ve had a bidder come in three times to look at it,” Cail added. “I want to talk to a Realtor or two to get some (price) quotes for it. We don’t want to charge too much or too little.”

The tiny house movement is sweeping the nation, with TV shows such as "Tiny House Nation" and "Tiny House Hunters" devoted to it.

Cail marvels at the dedication of this flock of Eagles.

“It’s amazing the amount of dedication they have,” he said. "They are staying after school, working during study halls, and I imagine there are some of them who will want to work on this over Christmas vacation.”

“This is competency-based education at its best,” Schrader said. “You can’t get any better example than this. These students are all gaining real-world experience.”

Cail is hoping one aspect of this project can duplicate from last year. Sponsors are needed to help bring it to completion. “We need help with windows, doors and other appliances,” he said.

The career-tech center is seeking cash and in-kind donations. Platinum-level sponsorship is $1,500; gold level $500; silver level $250; and bronze $100. Anyone wishing to help should contact Cail or Schrader at (603) 356-4370 or via email at p_cail@sau9.org.

“The community has been great to us,” Cail said.

Supporters so far include White Mountain Home Builders Association, Skehan Home Center and Robin Russell, an active member of the building trades advisory board at MWVCTC.

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