A group of students from Juneau has traveled to Georgia to prove designing a home to withstand hurricanes, termites and the warm, humid weather of the Deep South doesn't take them out of their element.
Five members of the National Home Builders Association Student Chapter at Juneau-Douglas High School and their advisor, Craig Mapes, left for Atlanta on Tuesday to present their designs for a Myrtle Beach, S.C., Habitat for Humanity home at a competition involving 18 teams from across the country. The contest is being held in conjunction with the International Builders' Show.
In addition to putting their general design skills to use, team members had to identify the needs for a home to be built thousands of miles away in a completely different climate.
"It was really different for us to build," said senior Sarah Croteau. "We had to protect against termites; you only needed two-by-four exterior walls instead of two-by-six because the insulation isn't so thick."
The students also needed to include fasteners to protect the roof from hurricanes.
In addition to creating blueprints for the 1,050-square-foot home, the team had to create a materials and costs inventory. They spoke with local contractors and others in the construction field to do research.
The team will present its plans to a panel of judges on Friday. The winning design will be built by Centex Homes for a family in Myrtle Beach.
"I think we're all a little bit nervous, but excited to be going and have this opportunity," said sophomore Zoe Olson.
The other team members are senior Christina Perez and juniors Taryn Bachman and Jordan Sanders.
When they are not presenting their plans or watching the other teams, the students will have the opportunity to visit the hundreds of building-related exhibits at the show. They also will be able to attend a career expo and see the interview and networking process that graduating college students undergo.
Mapes said this is the third year JDHS has participated in the competition. He said it's an excellent way for students to connect with professionals in the construction field.
"It's a really excellent, exciting educational experience," Mapes said. "The problem is challenging, and a vast array of skills are developed.
"It makes learning relevant, useful and meaningful. It makes a connection between the inside of the school and the outside world."
Andrew Krueger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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