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Temple High School construction students are building a very small house on wheels as they learn carpentry and architectural skills.

“What we’re building is a tiny house on wheels. It’s going to be a 225-square-foot house mounted on a 20 x 8.5 foot trailer that is being built in Oregon.”

Call it a really big little project. Temple High School Architecture & Construction program is constructing a mobile tiny house, and the students are learning design, computer skills and craftsmanship in a real-world setting. The program is a Career & Technical Education course that prepares students for jobs in the real world and provides a boost for furthering their education in college or technical schools. The CTE program is known locally as Wildcat Workforce. “What we’re building is a tiny house of wheels,” said Architecture & Construction program instructor Stephen Bishop.”It’s going to be a 225-square-foot house mounted on a 20 x 8.5 foot trailer that is being built in Oregon.” But like just many products in this pandemic-era world, it’s taking a while to get the trailer shipped to Texas. “It’s supposed to be on its way,” Bishop said. The diminutive home will include a kitchen, a bathroom and two lofts — one for sleeping, the other for storage. While waiting for the trailer, students have been building a model of the project and honing their woodworking skills. They also have been working on epoxy countertops for use in the little house’s bathroom and kitchen. Once the trailer arrives, work will focus on building a foundation and framing. “It’s a stick-built house,” Bishop said. “We will frame out the walls, buckle it in, then work on plumbing and electricity.” To learn about the job ahead, students are getting help and advice from the Temple Area Builders Association and the city of Temple. “We have carpenters, electricians and plumbers coming out to talk about the project and give us some pointers,” Bishop said. “We had to get a building permit from the city. We got turned down the first time but it’s all good now. That was definitely a real-world learning experience.” In addition to building the structure, students also will build cabinets for the bathroom and kitchen. “Furniture making is one of my loves,” Bishop said. “We will be designing and making our cabinets and countertops.” Bishop plans on showing the mobile house at the Home & Garden Show in February. “These guys work hard, but you never know what you might run into,” he said. “We would like to be a stop on the Parade of Homes route in April.” Denise Ayers, director of the Career & Technology Education program, secured a $5,000 grant from the Temple Education Foundation to help fund the tiny-house project. “That covered most of the trailer expenses,” Bishop said. “The cost of shipping that thing from Oregon to Texas is astronomical. I found a guy in Idaho who was willing to help. He gave us a fair price, now we just have to wait for delivery.” The project also has the support of local businesses such as ABC Construction, who is donating roofing materials. “The community has been awesome,” Bishop said. “We’re getting a lot of help.” So what will become of the tiny mobile house once it is complete? “That’s a great question,” he said. “We’re still working out the logistics. We may donate it, sell it or even have a raffle. We’re just not sure.” “This is a great project for the students,” Bishop continued. “We are planning on building a tiny house every year. In the future, maybe the THS welding department can build the trailer.” In addition to the grant, the project also is being funded by other Architecture & Construction program projects. “We make things and sell them to the community,” Bishop said, pointing to a porch swing. These community construction services include making jewelry boxes, cutting boards, tables, sheds, Christmas items and yard signs and special requests. “We may start making corn hole boards,” Bishop said. “We’ve had several requests.”