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Billings students put in work on West End home construction project

Construction teacher Mark Bolt said students work on the house from fall until spring, and push to have the project complete by the last day of school.
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Posted at 1:07 PM, Nov 28, 2023

BILLINGS — There’s a new house taking shape on the Billings West End.

It’s a 3,200-square-foot house with five bedrooms and plans for a big yard.

Students from Senior, West, and Skyview high schools learn many aspects of home construction while working on the new build through the Career Center’s construction classes.

Skyview senior Eli Rodriguez is a first-time student in the class this year and says he is learning a lot.

“I do love doing the roofing, that’s pretty fun, putting up shingles, you learn how to put the things in,” Rodriguez said.

He says learning these new skills has been an adventure.

Construction teacher Mark Bolt said students work on the house from fall until Spring, and push to have the project complete by the last day of school.

“So far they’ve mostly learned framing, how to build walls, how to build stairs, how to frame in the roof and set trusses,” Volt said.

They’re preparing for the next phase of construction.

“As we move forward into next semester, they learn insulation, sheetrock, trim out,” he said.

The program stands out at the SD2 Career Center.

“There’s not many high school programs in the country that actually build a house from start to finish,” Bolt said.

By the time the house is done next summer, some students may choose construction as a new career, but Bolt said these skills are useful to everyone.

“Well for one, some of them want to go into construction trades. Obviously, this gives them some real-life experience before they go out and get a real job. The other thing, they’ll probably all become homeowners. They’ll pick up a lot of skills here that they will put into their own house,” Bolt said.

The Billings Homebuilders Association has been funding the class for 48 years. They pay subcontractors for some of the work and cover all supplies, then use home sale proceeds to fund the next project.

Bolt says this home is expected to sell for between $500,000 and $550,000.