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Raising the Roof – Literally

Curriculum Means Building Homes from Scratch


The air is cold. The sun is just coming over the horizon. The metal scaffolding around the house has a light frost dusting and burns to the touch of the ungloved hand. And about 20 Kent Career Tech Center construction students are here with their instructors to raise a roof.

Phil Cummings and Jim Visser’s Applied Construction Technology students recently gathered at a home site in Grand Rapids to begin putting the trusses for the roof in place.

The house is ayearly Tech Center project to immerse students in the professional techniques of home construction.

In the course of the two-year program, students learn all aspects of the field, through the planning, building and finishing stages. Homes are then sold and another set begins. Students typically build three homes from start to finish.

The photos show how students lift, place and secure the basic roofing framework, with the help of Erickson’s Inc., a Grand Rapids rigging and crane operation firm. The operation takes about two days with intense instruction from teachers.

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Phil Cummings, KCTC Applied Construction Tech teacher, instructed Riley Duyser and Jesus Guzman in the truss’ proper seating
Phil Cummings, KCTC Applied Construction Tech teacher, instructed Riley Duyser and Jesus Guzman in the truss’ proper seating

Teams of students and instructors brought the trusses into place in their proper order
Teams of students and instructors brought the trusses into place in their proper order

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