Student builders’ handiwork showcased at open house
BY PAT FARNELLI
Elk Lake’s Drew Nunemaker began his Susquehanna County Career and Technolgy Center carpentry program at the start of his tenth grade year. His first couple hours of high school each day were spent working on site at House #3, where a concrete slab had been poured and a precast Superior Wall foundation had already been installed over the summer.
“I lucked out, because I started in my sophomore year, and the
only part that we students couldn’t do, the foundation, was done and we were ready to start,” he said.
He pointed out photos of himself with longer hair showing beneath his hat installing sill plates of pressure treated wood on top of the Superior Wall foundation, which he said, was chosen because it is faster and more cost efficient than building foundation walls with cinder blocks.
Now a clean-cut senior, Nunemaker says that the experience of constructing a home from foundation to finish, with state of the art materials and methods, will serve him well as he seeks employment with a builder or contractor.
A well-spoken young man, Nunemaker, along with fellow students Dave Henry, Jesse Gouin, Ben Benedict, and Mark Smith Jr., led tours though the house Saturday, pointing out items of interest and explaining the art of home construction, room by room.
When asked if he could remember how to do all of the steps involved in building the house, from the exterior walls to the roof to the installation of oak stairs and flooring, he said that he was fairly certain he had retained the methods and practices he had learned in theory classrooms and daily construction. “If I can’t remember exactly how I did something, I can look it up, but one thing I do remember is why we did it that way.”
Gouin, another senior from Elk Lake, said that the best part of the three years of home construction, for him, was working on the roof.
“I worked from the ground up, doing walls, framing, trim, but my favorite part turned out to be roofing. I love the heights, working outside – that adrenalin rush,” Gouin said.
Bruce Castelli, carpentry and cabinetmaking instructor at the SCCTC, said that the students in the program are able to learn on tools not readily available in shop class, like pneumatic air guns, hardwood guns, and framing guns. They also were able to master cabinet making on table saws, using routers, planers, and miter saws.
Jerry Guiton of Lawton attended the Open House and was very pleased with what he saw. Guiton was a strong advocate for career education during his years on the Elk Lake and SCCTC school board.
Several potential home buyers also toured the house and were very impressed, including James and Suzanne Karg of Springville and Barbara Bray of Elk Lake.
Bray said, “I’ve had my eyes on this for a long time.”
“What a great view out there,” remarked James Karg. “I am much, much impressed.”
Ken Truman and his wife Sandi, both of whom work at Elk Lake as maintenance director and cafeteria office respectively, joked with the students.
“These are my boys,” he said, noting that when he needs something these students often proffer assistance.
He said that the 12’x12’ rear deck was of particularly fine quality, with TREX composite decking that would never rot or warp, with recessed screws, and vinyl coated aluminum railings.
The home boasts three bedrooms, two full baths, a first floor powder room and a half bath in the basement; a custom-built oak staircase; and custom kitchen with granite counters; and a two car attached garage; on a 2.46 acre lot with a DEP approved septic system with filtration.
Later, another house will be built next door on the left, and the SCCTC students plan to construct eight more houses, four on each side of a cul-de-sac planned for the property to the right of this house, said SCCTC Administrative Director Alice Davis.
Forms with instructions on how to make an offer to purchase and to make a contract are available at the SCCTC office. Offers must be received by 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, Further information is available by calling (570)278-6700.