PAOLA – One tiny home could provide some big time hands-on experience for a group of Paola USD 368 students this school year.
Paola High School trade and industry teacher Kevin Bronson, who also is the PHS SkillsUSA coach, has a special project planned this year for the dozen or so students in his furniture and cabinet-making class.
The students will be working together to construct a tiny home to fulfill a contract the district is taking on through a partnership with a developer. Upon completion at the end of the school year, the tiny home will be shipped off to Colorado.
Bronson and Assistant Superintendent Tammy Thomasson talked about the project during the Paola school board meeting Monday, Aug. 12.
Thomasson said they got the original idea from the Ness City school district, and the Paola program will be similar in many ways. Superintendent Matt Meek said it’s an idea he and Bronson have been considering for a few years, but Meek did not want the school district to have the responsibility of storing and trying to sell the home at the end of the school year.
When the opportunity arose to partner with a developer, the school district officials jumped at the opportunity. Meek said the developer will reimburse the school district for the cost of materials and take care of transporting the home to Colorado upon its completion.
In return, the developer gets to have the tiny home constructed for a little more than $30,000, instead of the typical cost of about $70,000. The developer, though, also has to wait a little longer for the home, as the contract gives the students the entire school year to get it completed.
“We felt like this was a good opportunity for us to start,” Meek said.
Bronson said he is teaming up with local home builder Craig Browning to oversee the project.
“Craig will serve as the contractor, and I will serve as the superintendent,” Bronson said.
The entire tiny home will be constructed on a trailer and likely stored at the school district’s recently-acquired building in the city’s industrial park.
Thomasson said the tiny home will only be 208 square feet, but it features many of the same amenities as a regular home, including kitchen, bathroom, living area and loft bedroom.
Because the tiny home is set to be delivered to the mountains of Colorado, the blueprints are already being modified to include things like high-altitude glass, Thomasson said.
The school board members all expressed their approval of the project.
“I think it’s a great concept,” board member Tim Kelley said.
Board member Scott Golubski agreed.
“It will be good for them,” he said.