SALLY SANTORA/For the County News
Students Ty Flint, Tim Best and Alex Stonegraber work on the carpentry aspects of the home build.
Genesee Valley Educational Partnership
Luxury home built by student hands
Many contractors will build houses for their entire career and never have the opportunity to work on a home as large and extravagant as the home going up at 4365 Country Club Road in Geneseo.
It may surprise you to know that the general contractor on this 3,800 square foot executive ranch home are the students in the Building Trades program at the Mount Morris campus of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership.
The building trades class works on a new home construction each school year. This year’s home is by far the largest project they have ever taken on. The half million dollar home sits on a five acre lot.
The exterior features seven intersecting gables, front and back covered porches and a two-and-a half car garage. The interior of the home utilizes an open concept that includes a large great room, dining room, office, three bedrooms, a kitchen, laundry room and bathroom.
Above the garage is a 700 square foot bonus room that the homeowner may use as an exercise room.
“This year’s house is not the normal building trades project,” commented Ray Carney, whose been teaching the program for 25 years. “Because of the steep roof system, 12/12 slope, we were not able to construct the roof system and it was sub-contracted by the homeowner.”
The homeowner chose high quality materials and included several amenities not found in a typical home construction. Among them, the home will use geothermal heating system that provides floor radiant heat during the cold months and central air conditioning for the summer.
The geothermal heat pump will also provide hot water for the home. The students will install the heating and air conditioning system, under the direction of their teacher, George Merz.
Kyle Canfield, another teacher in the building trades program, specializes in carpentry and oversees the students who are building custom cabinets around the fireplace.
All three GVEP teachers handle the in-class instruction as well as the on-site construction management of the 90 junior and senior students in the program. Carney has worked with the building trades program for more than 25 years.
He’s overseen several home construction projects in the county that the students have done. Canfield and Merz have learned a lot under Carney’s leadership and they are taking on a much larger role in the construction of the Geneseo home.
“Ray is without a doubt one of the best teachers and mentors I could have ever asked for. His methods and chemistry with the students is truly the result of hard work and dedication,” commented Canfield, who was a student of Carney’s himself.
At the start of the school year a trailer is delivered loaded with the tools the crews will need throughout the construction project. The teachers order all of the building materials needed for the construction.
Each day, a morning and afternoon class of students takes a school bus ride to the site where they will divide into crews and work for approximately two hours on the house. The students, with direct instruction from their teachers, perform all phases of the home construction except for laying the foundation, drywall finishing, painting, flooring and masonry.
In the classroom the students spend a considerable amount of time learning safety procedures and blueprint reading in addition to their study of carpentry, heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electric.
Merz says everything that the students learn pertaining to building trades correlates with the core subjects of math, English language arts and science. Students use upper level thinking and problem solving skills in both the classroom component and the actual hands on building that they do.
The students say they love this hands-on version of school. They have taken a great deal of pride in their work on this house, which has caught the attention of so many people in the area, simply due to its size and upscale design.
“I want to come back here and drive by it in 20 years and say, “I helped build that house,” said Warsaw High School Junior Ty Flint.
Warsaw Junior Tim Best and Avon High School Junior Alex Stonegraber said they had never worked on a project as big as this one. Both said they are amazed at how much work has been done in the first few months.
Avon junior Ross Rahn and Livonia Senior High School junior Jeff Walker, are working primarily on the electrical and HVAC installations. The students say this is a challenging project but admit it is preparing them well for work after high school.
Both students plan to make a career in the building trades. Josh Truax, a junior from Mount Morris, says he is following the career path that many in his family have taken. He really enjoys construction work and was excited when he learned about the Geneseo home that the class would build.
During their on-site class time, the students are working busily for the two hours they are there. Though the scope of the project is much larger than anything they’ve done in the past, Carney says with 90 students working on it, the home will be complete in last spring.
The students say they don’t mind working hard, in fact, they say the building trades program is why they love to come to school. They credit the three teachers for the program’s success.
“We are taught well and learning a lot. They (the teachers) are the best part; they care about us,” Best said.
“It’s nice to be able to come to school every day and enjoy it,” Flint added.
The students are taught much more than just construction skills, said Merz and Canfield. Through this kind of program the students learn a good work ethic, manners, good communication and people skills. Life skills, Merz said. The employment market continues to grow for skilled trades and these students should have no problem finding work within their trade, their teachers say.