Construction class has new project


Last updated 12/14/2021 at Noon

Charlie Kanzig

Sisters High School teacher Jason Chinchen instructs a group of students from the construction class on the how-tos of wall construction.

Jason Chinchen needed a new project for his Sisters High School (SHS) construction class this term when the traditional job of creating walls for a Habitat for Humanity house had to be put on hold until new construction begins on the next house.

Chinchen wanted the students to have a similar learning experience in wall-building so the idea of creating sturdy 8-by-10-foot storage/garden sheds took hold.

“While we were waiting to price out and arrange for delivery of the materials from Hoyt’s Building Supply I did instruction on building principles and technique, but the kids were chomping at the bit to get going on something,” said Chinchen.

And once the materials arrived the 20 students fell into work at such a pace the first shed will likely be finished within a week from the start. After just one day of the class some walls were framed up and sheeting applied.

That’s not to say things have gone perfectly.

One student said he’d learned the old adage “measure twice and cut once” in the project. Two of the teams building walls had to backtrack — pulling nails and rechecking measurements — to make things line up square.

The shed had a buyer before the first hammer hit a nail. Thomas Arends, a Sisters High School alum who moved back to town about a year ago, snagged it the moment he saw it on social media.

“I’ve always been amazed at how many different programs and classes are offered at SHS for students to explore and grow, and my family has been supporting the school in different ways for many years, so I wanted to do this,” he said.

Arends’ mother, Susan, was a codirector of the Starry Nights benefit concerts that raised over $1 million for the school district, and he and his dad, Phil, both realtors in town, are gold-level sponsors for SHS athletics.

Rich MacConnel, a long-time volunteer with Sisters Habitat for Humanity, who has also helped in the past with the woods classes under Tony Cosby, said that his role is “to be a set of experienced eyes as the kids work and to help Jason out wherever I can.”

He added, “It’s really vital that young people are learning these skills because there is a huge demand right now for trade skills.”

Chinchen said, “This is a real-life way for them to put their knowledge and skills into practice.”

When the class worked on Habitat houses in the past, the materials were all provided, so Chinchen was quite pleased that Hoyt’s Building Supply fronted the class the materials needed for the shed.

“At the very least we hope to recoup the cost of materials on the sheds, but any profits from selling them at fair market value will go back into the woods program,” he said.

With six more weeks to go in the quarter, Chinchen envisions building at least one more shed. Potential buyers can contact him at [email protected]


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