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D.C. high school students build life-long skills with tiny homes

The next tiny home the students will build will be D.C.’s AIA award-winning Minim House

The tiny home craze has not only taken over the nation, but high schools as well. Recently, students at the Academy of Construction and Design (ACAD) at IDEA Public Charter School in Northeast Washington, D.C. constructed their first micro house. The student-built tiny home is also now on the market for $55,000 with proceeds to be reinvested in the academy's skilled trades classes and training programs.

Earlier this year, professional builders worked with the students in order to complete the interior of the tiny home after the exterior was showcased in a sustainable living exhibit in 2015. The 160-square-foot mobile structure is fully formed with a kitchen, bathroom, and enough space for a queen-size bed. The home is also eco-friendly with bamboo flooring and energy-efficient windows. The trailer that the house sits on was purchased from The Hitch Man Inc. in Waldorf, Maryland.

This semester, ACAD students will begin work on another tiny home, known as the Minim House, as well as their second single-family home, which will also be sold at the end of the academic year, as reported by The Washington Post.

The first single-family home was constructed around 2013 on 13th Street NW. The second single-family home will be constructed in Ward 7. The students will also participate in the permitting process for the single-family home.

Director of ACAD Shelly Karriem told Curbed DC that the reason why the academy chose a tiny house structure for the students to build was because they noticed how the tiny home fad was growing across the country as well as in D.C., itself.

Karriem further stated that the academy was founded in 2005 with the motivation to start training career and technical skills at a much earlier age. “We wanted to make sure the students’ skills stayed in tact and grew, and that they progressed in their trade,” she said.

When ACAD first started, the program focused on one trade, which was carpentry. Since then, the program has flourished with additional trades added, including electrical and HVAC. Karriem expects ACAD to grow further over the next few years.

Karriem said, “Teaching our students construction trade is a big part of what we do here, but it’s not all we do. We teach students life skills, skills that will be with them for a lifetime, whether they immediately go in the industry of construction, whether they go off to college. This industry is so vast.”

In an interview with The Washington Post, Karriem said that about two-thirds of students who complete ACAD pursue higher education. In order to further support these students, the D.C. Students Construction Trades Foundation, the accredited sponsor of the academy since 2005, provides college scholarships to ACAD graduates.

Students build their careers in high school construction program [The Washington Post]