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CHS Selling House

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

If you’re in the market for a new home, Cookeville High School is selling a 1500 Square Foot, 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house.

The home was built on school grounds by its carpentry class. Teacher Randy Mansell said the structure was constructed by his students.

“The students do 100 percent of the work,” Mansell said. “They do all aspects of residential carpentry, the siding, and the roofing. We do drywall, and they get a lot of hands on experience.”

The house will be sold at auction by Tony Kennedy Construction on May 31 at 10 a.m. The buyer is responsible for having the house professionally moved by the end of summer.

The carpentry program at CHS has been building houses for decades, Mansell said. This house is the 23rd he’s built with students.

“This program has been going on since the 1930s,” Mansell said. “Putnam County has always had a carpentry program. We used to call it building trades, where the students build a house they sell at the end of the year, and I have been helping them do this for 23 years.”

In addition to learning about building, Mansell said students get project management experience. He said houses are planned in a way students can spend the year working on the structure.

“It takes the entire school year,” Mansell said. “We have it mapped out so we know where we need to be at the end of each nine weeks in order to get the house completed.”

Mansell said this year he had two students in the building trades return to assist with the build.

“Steve Van De Voorde of Van De Voorde Electric came out and brought three of his foremen,” Mansell said. “Two of those guys are former students of mine from Cookeville High School. They came out and donated a day helping the kids with the wiring on the house.”

Despite schools shutting down early due to COVID-19, Mansell said he was impressed the students had most of the house complete by the time they left.

“They did a great job,” Mansell said. “Because of the efforts my students made, their house was basically completed after the third nine weeks, and they did that without knowing that they were going to miss all this school, so my hat’s off to them for the job they did.”

Mansell said that although some students go into building trades after they graduate, they all learn real-world skills, preparing them for adulthood.

“I tell the guys that even if they never pursue this, they are all going to live somewhere, and they are going to need to replace a water heater or build a new deck on your house,” Mansell said. “They will certainly have the confidence to do those things without having to hire someone to maintain your home.”




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