Construction students build new home
September 28, 2015
University Relations, 657-2266 – Story by Blair Koch
City College Business, Construction & Energy Technology Dept. Chair Fransisco Saldivar, 247-3046
Students in the Construction-Carpentry Program at City College will soon begin construction on a single-family home in the Fox Tail Subdivision on Billings' West End. For now, they are preparing a site on the City College Campus where first year students of the program will build a new solar training building. Pictured here, students prep to expand the facility's foundation.
MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — The home site at 5956 Fox Tail Lane isn't much right now but during the first week of October students enrolled in the City College at Montana State University Billings Construction-Carpentry Program will begin building a home there.
By year's end the second-year students will have helped construct a single-family home within the West End subdivision. The home will then be sold on the regular real estate market.
Business, Construction & Energy Technology Department Chair Francisco Saldivar said this opportunity comes to the school and students via a public-partnership with developer Classic Home Designs. Students receive no financial incentive but gain valuable on-the-job training and premier cabinetry skills they wouldn't pick up as a laborer.
Saldivar said the program prepares graduates to run their own business or enter the workforce ready to take on management responsibilities.
"The program is really tailored to entrepreneurial students. They not only get the hands on learning but the back-end training as well that is so important in actually running a business, how to perform cost analyses, and budgeting, return on investment. They are learning all of that in class," Saldivar said.
Some students are already laying the groundwork to begin working for themselves after graduating in the spring.
Spencer Bakich, 24, is the owner of Bakich Builders, focusing on everything from remodels to new home construction. Once school is complete he is looking forward to picking up more clientele.
"The class will help because it's going to give me more experience," he said.
Nineteen-year-old Sam Maetzold also plans on putting out his own shingle after graduating this spring.
"I've always worked in the field but I want my own business," he said. "It's been a good program. The instructors are really good and it’s been good to be around those that know a lot. I think it's put us way a head of a lot of people already in the field."
He's excited to begin construction on the Fox Tail home and plans to keep watch on how the project is managed.
"I want to be more educated as a foreman," Maetzold said. "With this big project we're really going to get a sense everything that goes into the building and management process."
While students may be champing at the bit to raise the home walls their time has not been wasted waiting for their big project to start. Once second-year students head over to the worksite first-year students will have their own projects to complete, said Construction Instructor Tim Starns.
"We used to build these modular units but this year we don't have enough students, so this year we are focusing on projects around campus. Our first one to complete is building the new Solar Training Building," he said.
Graduates of the two-year program will earn an associate of applied science degree or can opt for a certificate of applied science.