Mesalands students building house for college credit

Thomas Garcia

A hands-on, house building project is benefiting the students of Mesalands Community College’s building trades program.

Taking advantage of Thursday’s warm weather the students of the building trades program worked on the 1600 square foot home they are building at the corner of south Eighth Street and west Miel de Luna Ave.

“This is our lab and workshop,” said Richard Gerbrandt, MCC instructor. “This is hands on training, the best their is.”

The funding for the house came from a $600,00 HUD grant that the college applied for and received in fall of 2006, said John Yearout, Mesalands director public relations.

Yearout said that the initial cost of the construction of the three bedroom two bath home was $100,000. The final cost of construction could change because of the fluctuating economy and cost of materials.

Gerbrandt said that the project is being built by the seven students of the college’s building trades program.

“Building this house has given me a lot of hands on experience,” said David Garcia, associate degree student. “I am grateful that Mesalands has a program that lets us work in our field of study.”

Garcia said that this is his first semester in the building trades program. He said that once he graduates he plans to start a building business with his father.

There are two dual credit students from Tucumcari high school enrolled in Mesalands building trade program who are helping with the construction.

“It is a great program I am learning a lot from Mr. Gerbrandt,” said Camron Sandoval, high school senior. “I have been working on this project since it began.”

Sandoval said that he does not plan on entering into the building trades field after high school but is looking forward to completing the project.

“I want to be able to come back years later and say that I had a hand in building that house,” Sandoval said.

Gerbrandt said the students are working to complete the construction on the house by May 7.

“Some of the building, electrical and plumbing codes have changed since we began construction. So we are making sure that everything in the house is up to code.”

Gerbrandt said the construction is scheduled to last for two semesters. The footing and foundation for the house was done in July and the framing work began in Sept..

Once the three bedroom two bath home is completed it will be auctioned off. Those proceeds will go toward another building trades house project in the neighboring lot.

“The purpose of this program is to continue building homes benefiting Mesalands’ students and the community,” Grebrandt said.