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The Billings Career Center assists students in building a home so they can gain practical construction knowledge



Billings, Montana – The Billings Career Center is assisting its construction students in gaining practical building experience.

According to Mark Bolt, the Billings Career Center’s House Construction Teacher, the program has been assisting students in building houses for the past 48 years with little to no assistance from subcontractors.

The Home Builders Association provides outside financing to the center so that students can participate in this practical construction experience.

“Home Builders’ Association helps us design the basic floor plan of the house. We build one house per year, and we do it with very little outside help. As the labor goes, it’s mostly the students that are building these houses. It is truly a student-built project,” explained Bolt.

Additionally, he stated that one of the main benefits of this change is that students get to make real-world mistakes and come up with real-world remedies.

“Building a real house is obviously more beneficial for student learning compared to just practicing on some demo walls. So, when students go outside of high school, they have actually worked on a house before. We do some teaching and learning at the shop but most of their skills are done on site on a real house,” emphasized Bolt.

Students can enroll in a variety of construction-related subjects at the Billings Career Center, such as electrical, interior design, geometry, and urban agriculture.

Students have been working on the house’s framing and roofing thus far this year, and they expressed excitement about finishing the project in June 2024.

“I want to be able to build my own house one day so it’s nice getting to learn something new every single week and be able to apply it to a real-life circumstance,” said Jacob Infante, a senior working on the house since the start of the school year.


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