BHS trades class to build house this year

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Though no one has committed to buying the Benson High School Trades and Industrial Carpentry class house this year, the class will be building one after taking a year off in 2016-17.

Without a buyer last year, the school board agreed not to spend the $70,000 to $75,000 it costs to build the home opting to have the class build a new press box at the football field. It also built sheds and garages.

No bids have been received for the trades house, nor has anyone new expressed interest in buying it, Supt. Dennis Laumeyer told the school board at its Aug. 21 meeting. He did contact a person who has expressed interest earlier, but that person has not received authorization to make the purchase, he said.

There are two options for the school board to consider for the coming school year, Laumeyer said. It can authorize the principal to have the trades class build the house, or it can authorize it to build sheds, garages and whatever other projects that people have for them.

When the trades class built a home in the 2015-2016 school year the material costs were $74,500. When people came to look at the house, or inquired about it, that cost was a concern, he said.

Laumeyer said he would ask that the school board consider what the total material costs would be before construction starts should it agree to build a house in the 2017-18 school year.

There have been requests for two sheds and a garage, Knutson told the school board. There are no projects at the school that need to be done this school year that the class can work on, Laumeyer said.

Secondary Principal Mike Knutson called trades class instructor Don Brehmer asking what he preferred for the coming year. “He said he would prefer to build a house,” Knutson told him he would take that message to the board, but he also told Brehmer the board might set a ceiling for a price for materials.  

“Based on that, it might mean getting more bids. It might mean building a smaller house,” he said. It might mean adjusting the design of the house. The class has also installed the furnace that could be left out at a savings of $5,000 to $6,000.

Perhaps, the trades class could save money by not building and installing the cabinets, School Board Member Bill McGeary said.  That is an option, Knutson agreed. However, he added that by buying the materials and building the cabinets it is cheaper than it would cost to buy finished cabinets.

School Board Member Gary Williams said he would love to build a house, but he added that the school district was lucky to get what it did for the last one. “I just can’t see us getting the work done for $60,000-$70,000. I, personally, wouldn’t want to build a house unless we get it sold first.”

“I think that over the years the odds are in our favor to build a house,” McGeary said. “We have been very successful at selling them.”

In 19 of the 21 years Brehmer has taught the BHS trades class students have built a house. In all but one year the sale of the house has made a profit for the school district with the sale price generally in the low to mid-$70,000 range.

The school district tries to get back the cost of the materials used to build the house along with the cost of some of the materials it used to build it such as saw blades, hammers, nail guns, and other shop equipment, Laumeyer said....

 

It is a two-bedroom house with a furnace and an air exchange system. If that wasn’t offered, that could make a difference in the cost, Laumeyer said.

“I think the savings we give the purchaser of the house by the fact that we don’t charge any labor offset the moving costs, or more than offset it,” McGeary said.  “I would really like to build a house and I am not that much afraid that we won’t get it sold because we always have.”

Maybe some of the amenities included in the house could be scaled back and the kids could still get the experience of building a house, McGeary said. “That is the whole goal,” he said....

 

Anyone interested in inquiring about buying the next Trades class house can call 320-843-2710.

 

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