Each year, students enrolled in the Building Trades program at Erie 1 BOCES Potter and Harkness Career & Technical centers build a house from bottom to top, an impressive accomplishment for high school seniors.
At 9 a.m. on June 10, the house built by students at Potter Career & Technical Center located at 705 Potter Road in West Seneca will be auctioned by Cash Realty & Auctions. The house built by students at Harkness Career & Technical Center located at 99 Aero Drive in Cheektowaga will be auctioned at 10 a.m. on June 10. All proceeds from the auction will be used toward next year’s building supplies.
Both homes have three bedrooms and two baths. The 1,248-square-foot modular home completed at Harkness features Anderson windows and a ceramic tile shower. Students at Potter have added a Jacuzzi tub and detailed tile work to the bathroom in their 1,344-square-foot home.
There is a high demand for people who have the type of experience offered in the Building Trades programs. Close to 50 percent of the seniors in the Potter program already have full time jobs in their trade lined up for after graduation. Most of the remaining students have enrolled in area colleges, to attend their construction programs. Students from both locations completed short-term internships in May with local construction companies, providing students with more valuable experience.
Brandon Wroblewski, a senior from Hamburg High School enrolled at Potter, will be entering the workforce after graduation and said that this project taught him about teamwork. “I think responsibility plays a big role, and working with your co-workers because you can’t do it alone,” Brandon said.
For students who are not planning on a career in the building trades, the project is still beneficial. Jacob Krier, a senior from Maryvale High School enrolled at Harkness, is planning to attend Erie Community College for a degree in business but Jacob still plans to use the skills he learned in the program. “I plan to help my family with their construction projects but would absolutely love to find a job in this field to help me pay for college,” said Jacob.
Erie 1 BOCES two-year Building Trades program allows students to begin with smaller projects in order to learn the fundamentals of building, culminating with the senior house project. During senior year, the teachers show students the techniques, leaving the students to do 90 percent of the work. The teachers are the supervisors, helping the students when needed and encouraging students to do the work right.
Students in the program are involved in every step of the building process, developing skills in foundation and wall framing, plumbing, electrical systems and exterior finishes. The hands-on activity supplements the educational background provided on blueprints and building codes.
Auction sales have historically earned $35,000-$55,000 for the program. The persons with the winning bids are expected to pay a $5,000 deposit at the time of the auction. The homes must be removed from the school parking lot by July 31 and transported at the expense of the buyers.
The students are proud of their accomplishments and are amazed at the end product. John-Paul Marinaccio a senior for West Seneca West High School enrolled at Potter shared, “I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished…how many 17 and18-year-olds build a house?”