Construction students build home

Jamie Anderson

Jamie Anderson

Imagine a class where you get to construct an entire house from scratch: a massive frame, siding, roofing, the works. Imagine that while earning credits, you also get to make a difference in the life of a Brookings family by giving them a new home.

Today, this is a reality at SDSU.

On Sept. 25, a group of construction management majors along with Habitat for Humanity began building a house. This is a two-week project in which students can obtain one to three credits for a technical elective class in the construction management field. The students can choose how many credits they want to earn based on how much time they want to spend building.

“There are about 21 students involved in building the house,” said Norma Nusz-Chandler, SDSU construction management instructor. “There are a couple different instructors that watch over the project, but only the students build.”

The house, located on the corner of 15th Street South and Christine Avenue, is the third house built by SDSU students in the past two years through the class, said Nusz-Chandler.

“I’m not sure how the idea for the class or project came about,” said Nusz-Chandler. “Habitat had the interest and need for people to help, and here we are.”

The Brookings Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization established in 1995, has plans to build eight houses this year. Habitat buys lots and sets up a mortgage program for the houses. The owners then pay monthly mortgage and insurance payments. They are also required to take budget and home maintenance classes, said Connie Swain, executive director of the Habitat chapter.

“Receiving a new house lifts people up and turns lives around. We have heard that more kids go to college,” said Swain. “The homes are safe and affordable and give people a place to call home.”

Habitat for Humanity started with building the foundation of the house, and the students helped them complete it. SDSU students then took over and so far the house is roofed, shingled, sheet-rocked and sided.

“The project is a little behind on the exterior because of the weather, but we will get caught up,” said Clint Schroeder, a senior construction management major. “Everything on the interior is on track.”

The class is open to anyone and any year in school. There are only about six girls in the construction management major and only one working on this house.

“We have had a freshman take part in the building before. So far, it has been nearly all (construction management) majors since not a lot of people know about it,” said Nusz-Chandler.

A lot of different organizations on campus and in the community donate time to Habitat for Humanity.

“It helps students learn how to work together and organize to build a house. It’s a great way to contribute to the community,” said Nusz-Chandler.

As for the construction management class, the students said they are happy to be learning valuable skills and helping others out at the same time.

“You get credit, and it’s a neat opportunity to build a house to help out a family,” Schroeder said. “I’d like to help out and keep building in the future. Habitat appreciates all the help they can get.”

#1.881391:943013978.jpg:Photo 1.1.jpg:John Meyen, a senior construction management major, cuts open a doorway on the Habitat for Humanity house CM students are building.:Katie Rusch