Arrow-right Camera
News >  Features >  Voices

Homes built at summer school

From left, Kody Brown, Riley Nielson and Caden Hughes  use craft sticks as siding for the
From left, Kody Brown, Riley Nielson and Caden Hughes use craft sticks as siding for the "mega cabin" their team built as a part of the Greenacres Middle School summer school. Students worked in teams to design dream houses using reading, writing, math and computer skills they learned during the summer. (J. BART RAYNIAK / The Spokesman-Review)

Paint isn’t cheap.

Conner Hohenberger found that out when his 250-square-foot master bedroom required three gallons of paint at $34-per-can.

The seventh-grader at North Pines Middle School said when he’s an adult he’ll buy a house that’s already finished. “It takes a lot of effort to design and build a house,” Hohenberger said.

He discovered the challenges of construction while attending Central Valley School District’s summer school program for students in grades 6 through 8.

Classes, held at Greenacres Middle School, ended Thursday with a home show, a hands-on project that featured the students’ designs for their dream homes.

This year, 67 students took part in the program, about the same number as last year.

Students attended 18 sessions in a five-week period with classes in reading, writing, math and technology.

Teams of three-or-four students used the last 30 minutes of the day to work on the designs for their projects. This included deciding on the scale of the house, drawing a floor plan, providing front and back elevation plans and completing a budget.

“The building project is an age-appropriate, motivational project for the kids. There’s a lot of math involved – figuring out area, perimeters and working with costs,” said Janice Boyd, summer school principal. During the regular school year she teaches math at Greenacres.

“Traditional summer school was like a punishment,” said Boyd. “We want students to have fun and extend their learning opportunities.”

Boyd said that the summer session is also an opportunity for incoming sixth-graders to become more comfortable with a middle-school environment. They’ll know what to expect when they return in the fall.

Kody Brown is an incoming sixth-grader at Greenacres. He and his teammates had a $200,000 budget for their house, which featured a removable roof, complete with shingles.

“The hardest part was putting all the popsicle sticks on the house for siding. I really liked designing the house and all the people I’ve met from other schools,” Brown said.