High School Kids Building Tiny Homes

230-Square-Foot Houses Include Bathroom, Loft, Solar Panels

<b>NOT ACTUAL SIZE: </b> SBHS shop class with their Tiny Home model.
Paul Wellman

Woodshop class has come a long way since the days of oak cutting boards, mahogany salad bowls, and plywood skimboards. Those classics are still getting turned out by students with a fondness for power tools, of course, but beyond the basics exists a whole new realm of woodworking: These kids are building houses.

Late last month, Santa Barbara High School (SBHS) received a lumber delivery for its inaugural Tiny Homes program. Over the 2016-17 school year, Advanced Woodworking and Construction Technology students — learning the necessary tools and techniques along the way — will build a 230-square-foot house, complete with a bathroom, kitchen appliances, solar panels, and a loft big enough for a queen-sized bed. San Marcos and Dos Pueblos high school kids are also part of the program, with Dos Pueblos instructor Chris Mollkoy teaming up with SBHS’s Caleb Chadwick to spearhead the endeavor. Late next year, Chadwick said, the homes — which are fastened to road-ready flatbed trailers instead of permanent foundations — will be auctioned off to finance the following year’s program. He estimates each home will cost about $28,000 to build.

Seed money for this debut, Chadwick said, came from a $50,000 grant from the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara, on top of lasting support from the TRADART Foundation for career development. “TRADART has really kept all our woodshops open,” Chadwick added.

“I really like working with my hands,” said SBHS senior Marco Bautista, who’s currently putting year-end touches on a jewelry cabinet and helped build a quarter-scale model (pictured) of next year’s tiny home. “I like new projects, just building things.”

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