Just more than a year ago, the 858 square-foot house was just a blue print. 

Now, the finishing touches are being made to what will be someone’s new home. 

The home, which was built completely from the ground up by the Southern Oklahoma Technology Center’s carpentry program, is a one-bedroom “lakehouse-style home.” This week the students completed the final touches on the home, carefully touching up the paint, trim and ensuring the home will be ready for purchase once bids open on Feb. 28.

Robby Adams, SOTC carpentry instructor, said the size of the homes they build in class vary depending on the year, and the program tries to “mix it up” every year so they’re putting a different house on the market every year. The current home took about 13 months to complete. Adams said the hands-on experience of building a home is valuable to students once they begin looking for jobs. 

“I tell my students at the beginning of the year ‘you’re never going to learn to build a house by sitting in a classroom and reading a book about it,’” Adams said. “This is a program where you roll up your sleeves and you go out there and do it.” 

Since the carpentry program takes two years to complete, Adams said every student that obtains certification gets experience working on a home. While he has spent the majority of his career building homes, Adams said the achievement is a huge one for students. 

“The students get very attached to the houses they build,” he said. “You know it’s a pride thing. They become very attached to it.” 

Claudia Corona, a carpentry student at SOTC, is a non-traditional student, doubling as a student and a single parent. Corona said she has always been good with wood-working and hands-on work, so she decided to enroll in the program.  She decided to pursue the education because she saw the potential to better her life and do something she loves. 

“Going to college wasn’t necessarily something I thought I wanted to do,” Corona said. “But I’ve always been good working with my hands so I guess the type of girl that wants to do what everyone always tells you they can’t do.

“You know this is like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” 

Just months after enrolling in classes, Corona already has her eyes set on a dream when she finishes the program in May 2018. Through the program, with the help of Adams, she has built a rock-solid foundation, which she hopes to use to start her own carpentry business. Months ago Corona and her fellow peers had little to no idea on how to build a home or do carpentry work, but now have an 858 square-foot home that is the manifestation of their accomplishments. 

“It’s amazing how much you can do in four months,” she said. “You see it (the home) everyday and that’s kind of your reassurance that you can do anything that you can set your mind to do.” 

Corona said there is a sense of completion to seeing the house come together and knowing the final product will be a part of someone’s life. Adams said the carpentry program goes far beyond simply building homes. While the students are carefully and precisely building the homes, they are building the framework of their own futures, something they didn’t have when they first began the program. 

“I love every year taking a group of students that many of them have never nailed two boards together, they’ve never used a tape measure and never used a hammer and by the end of the year we have a home that someone can buy and live in,” he said. “And I think that’s where their pride comes from with how far they’ve come throughout the year.” 

More details on how to bid on the home can be found at https://www.sotc.edu/pages/carpentry-house.