When a North Dakota elementary school needed a new classroom, school leaders found their construction crew on the other side of campus—at the local high school.
About 30 Bottineau High School students in a building-trades class are doing most of the work on the addition to Bottineau Elementary School, in Bottineau, N.D.
The school’s 1,800 square-foot addition, which also includes an office, a restroom, and storage space, will house a special education preschool class, said the elementary school’s principal, Mike Forsberg.
The 760-student Bottineau district received a federal grant to start and run the class.
To save money, Mr. Forsberg asked the building-trades class to take on the project, which will cost about $76,000. He estimates the district saved more than $30,000 on labor by contracting with the students, who get only classroom credit for their work.
Contractors are overseeing the more specialized work in plumbing, electrical systems, and other areas.
The addition is expected to be completed by late February. In recent years, the building-trades classes have also built and renovated houses to sell.
Those experiences have helped many students launch careers in the construction industry, Mr. Forsberg said.
A version of this article appeared in the January 26, 2005 edition of Education Week