High school house building class offers new opportunities

Your Money Matters

HARRISBURG, S.D. (KELO) — Harrisburg High School will soon offer house building as a class option.

The new Home Builders Academy will be built next to the high school, and should be ready by the end of the summer.

Like any big project, you need funding.
Luckily, the Harrisburg School District got a nearly half million dollar gift to start the Home Builders Academy.

The South Dakota Department of Education Division of Career and Technical Education selected Harrisburg for a $225,000 Workforce Education Grant.

Then, the Sioux Empire Home Builders Care Foundation matched those funds for another $250,000.

So what will the kids do in the new Academy?

“While the students are in the courses they’re going to have the opportunity to earn certification through Southeast Technical Institute in General Construction, Residential Construction and Commercial Construction,” said Michael Amolins, Curriculum and Federal Programs Director for Harrisburg School District.

The kids will work with a faculty member and staff from Southeast Tech to learn basic framing and construction of the home. Then, another community partner will take the home to the next step.

“Affordable Housing Solutions is actually working to make it possible for them to move that home out onto a foundation in the community in an area where there’s a need for community revitalization and affordable housing,” said Amolins.  

After that, district officials hope the kids will get to intern with sub-contractors to learn more trades, like electrical, HVAC and drywall.
All things the region is lacking.

“Many of the contractors are struggling to find skilled employees. So there are several hundred positions open right now as we speak. So what we’re trying to do is provide for our kids to learn those skills while they’re in high school so they can better serve our community and the growth we’re experiencing,” said Amolins.  

Amolins says they have been surprised by the response from students.

50 students expressed interest so far, and there will be room for more next year.

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