SCCTC house nearly finished

BY PAT FARNELLI

The Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center heard a report Thursday from building trades teacher Gary Fenton on the progress of a soon-to-be completed house.

Fenton showed photos of the installation of rough plumbing, electric and heating systems, with students completing the various steps of the project.

“When you tell students ages 15-17 that they are going to build a house, one thing they don’t ask is, “Why?” said Fenton.

The educational purpose is self evident.

He showed students handling 600 feet of PEX tubing and PVC plumbing, as well as the new manifold for the house, which is like a circuit breaker for the plumbing system, he said.

Over 3,000 feet of electric wire has been installed so far.

“Ed Hudak, the building inspector for the Susquehanna COG, is our building inspector. He did the inspection, and we failed for all four systems, which is typical of a building inspection.” The students learn that in spite of the disappointment involved when an inspector does not pass your work (he described the expressions on student faces when the inspector leaves), “He is your best friend.”
The siding and gutters, soffit and fascia, downspout are installed. This house features a cathedral ceiling, which, Fenton says, is not as easy to insulate properly as students might think.

This year’s project is a 10,000-square-foot house, with more than 10,000 feet of drywall, according to Fenton.

He showed photos of 24 five-gallon pails of joint compound needed to complete the job, and said that few of his students have already mastered the art of spackling. Rather than spend months on the students properly learning to apply joint compound, he has contracted for that service, but this year, he simply spackled the house himself.

This enabled him to do the spackling for each floor as the drywalling was completed, rather than waiting for the entire building to be finished.

He said that contractors wanted to have the whole house completed before they spackled, but he could do it while the students worked on the other floor of the house.

“By doing it myself, we saved $5,000, and the students could observe me in the process,” Fenton said.
“I brought my stilts with me,” he pointed out on a slide. “I use them for taping and spackling… The kids love them and want to use them for work.”

The heating system for the house is hot air and air conditioning, which Fenton said is more efficient and cheaper than installing baseboard heat plus air conditioning. For this project, students fabricated all of the heating and air conditioning ducts.

In other business, Director Alice Davis said that the Practical Nursing program will be underway by July 1.

Sherrie Bazin, MSN, is the nursing director for the program as well as the LPN coordinator.

Some 42 students have applied for the first round, to be narrowed down to 40. They are currently accepting applications for the fall term. If interested, call 278-6759.

Davis reported that the automotive program has 41 students, yet the auto body technology program only has five afternoon students.

Superintendent William Bush said that new students are signing up for the program for next fall.

Craig Sprout asked, “Is it worthwhile to have this program for only five kids, in the new building?”
Board member Eric Emmerich noted that this was the number one program in student interest before the new building was completed.

Bush noted, “We did not have a tuition program in place yet, for adult students. It will be offered to adults now.”

He said that it takes a while for a program like this to grow.

Sprout asked, “What is a feasible goal?”

Bush replied that 15-20 students were feasible.

Bids were awarded at a total of $40,103 for 17 items for an equipment grant proposal. This is a matching grant, so half of this total will be paid through the state grant program.

Blue Ridge School District has a number of students who want to attend classes at the SCCTC.
Davis said she is waiting for the count.

Resident Jeannie Jayne thanked the board for moving the American flag.

At the first separate SCCTC meeting, the bathroom door in the high school library was open, and the restroom facilities were visible beneath the flag. Jayne asked if the flag could be moved, for the sake of her father and other veterans.