Construction Instruction: In Arkansas, Students Begin Work on Office Building

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Copyright 1988, Editorial So, with the approval of the local school board, students at the Monticello Occupational Education Center are set to begin work on a 4,000 square-foot office building.

Officials hope to save $100,000 by using students' free labor. In return, the students will get hands-on experience in all phases of construction of a building that would have cost $200,000 if done commercially.

The vocational center enrolls 11th and 12th graders on a half-time basis while they complete academic requirements at their high school. Participants in the program can study drafting, building trades, or a variety of other occupations.

With the help of Lewis and Associates, a Little Rock architectural firm that is donating its services, the students have already conducted site surveys. And the land is being cleared in preparation.

A total of about 120 students will be involved in the project, which is expected to last two or three years. Construction work will be done only during the school year.

First-year students will work on the building for two hours each morning, while second-year students will devote three hours in the afternoon.

Although they have built residential houses in the past, the participants "have never done anything on this scale before," says Robert Kizer, the district's director of vocational education.

Drafting students will be exposed to the latest architectural techniques as they use computers to assist them in the building's design, Mr. Kizer notes, and those in the building-trades classes will get a chance to operate heavy construction equipment.

The ambitious project, Mr. Kizer explains, will provide "first-hand information on how a building is designed and built from the ground up."

Vol. 08, Issue 05

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