LHS students learn innovation comes in small packages

Lovell High School student Brent Snyder works on a tiny house project during construction class at the school on Monday.
Patti Carpenter photo

Innovation is the word on the campus of Lovell High School this year, and the students will have something to show for it by the end of the school year as the result of a multi-class effort to build, market and sell a tiny house created entirely by students.

The tiny house is 196 square feet plus a 64-foot loft area. It is just over 13 feet high and will not only be road worthy but green, as well. The tiny house is being built in a parking lot adjacent to the vocational education classrooms on a 24-foot trailer designed to transport and support it.

Vocational ed teacher Bret George described it as a “cross-curricular” project, with several classes actively involved, including the school’s construction, interior design, drafting, digital video and geometry classes.

The students are not only building the tiny house to specs they created and researched themselves, but plan to market and sell the house, recouping their investment at the end of the school year.

The project is made possible by a $64,000 Wyoming Education Trust Fund Grant. The grant will be used to not only build the tiny house but also to OSHA train about 30 students and to purchase tools and equipment for the vocational education department that can be used for future projects.

George said the beauty of the project is that it is “self-sustainable” in that the students will use the money they receive from the sale of the tiny house to build another one. George said he hopes the tiny house will sell for more than its cost, so that the surplus funds can be used to fund scholarships for vocational students to pay for further education and/or tools of the trade of their choosing. George estimates the house will cost about $37,000 to build. He said it would be fully solar powered with the option of switching to 110 voltage when needed. It will have a fully functioning sewer system that can be hooked up to a pressurized water system.

He said a group of students have already started working on a marketing video and are researching market trends that will help sell the house. A group of environmental science students are also investigating what it will take to get the tiny house “green certified.”

George said his “woods” class would build all of the cabinetry, including space saving storage areas in every nook and cranny of the house. He said the design includes a washer/dryer combo built into the house’s bathroom vanity. The students will hire a professional company to spray foam insulation for a high “R” value and overall structural rigidity.

George has organized a community advisory committee consisting of experts from Lovell Building Center, Mountain Electric and Rocky Mountain Plumbing to help the students meet all building standards. Local businessman Ken Grant will also act as an advisor on the project.

Currently, more than 50 students are collaborating on the project. George said the project has four goals: 1. To plan, design and construct the house, 2. To make it as green as possible, 3. To market and sell the house, and 4. To prepare the students working on the project for career readiness, professional certification and training.

For more information or to find out how to bid on the house when it goes to auction, contact George at Lovell High School 548-2256.

By Patti Carpenter