Summit High School students wrap up construction on a tiny home that is now for sale

Summit High School construction class pose in front of the tiny home it built with community partners Friday, May 17, 2024.
Kit Geary/ Summit Daily News

Summit High School’s tiny home project is one of a handful of projects across the High Country that Mark Gregory, career and technical education coordinator with the Colorado River Board of Cooperative (Educational) Services, helped work on this school year. Gregory said out of all the communities he worked in, he was most struck by the generosity of the local tradespeople in Summit County. 

He described a situation where dozens of locals in the trades volunteered time and materials to help Summit County high schoolers in teacher Oakley Van Oss’ construction class built a 288-square-foot tiny home. 

Ultimately, 54 individuals, businesses and local municipalities chipped in either time, material or money to help get this project off the ground. The students not only got to learn the fundamentals of construction from Van Oss, but, thanks to locals donating their time, they also were given lessons on plumbing, carpentry and more. 

Senior Tanner Gray came into Van Oss’ class during the second semester looking to get hands-on experience with construction. He said he was grateful to have learned much more than that thanks to the local tradespeople who contributed to the project. He specifically called out Dominick Leonardi with Dominator Plumbing who gave him insight into plumbing that he wouldn’t have been able to get otherwise. 

Senior Koby Miller shared a similar sentiment about longtime builder Bill Duford, who was on site much of the time helping the students learn in real time. 

Not only did Miller, Tanner and the other students in Van Oss’ class gain new knowledge sets, they also earned a Home Builders International credential. 

“They’re getting a leg up on their professional certification that most people start after high school,” Gregory said. 

Gregory said fundraising efforts and work done by Summit County Builders Association helped provide the curriculum needed to get this certification. Valerie Connelly with the Summit County Builders Association added that the curriculum also helped the students earn a Occupational Health and Safety Administration certification. 

The tiny home built by the Summit High School construction class can actually be lived in and is currently for sale. 

Gregory explained that the Educational Pathways to Innovative Careers program through the Colorado River Board of Cooperative (Educational) Services helped finance this project through a state grant called Opportunity Now Colorado and also takes care of the sale of the tiny home. The proceeds will go back into similar projects. 

Gregory said the home will be sold through an auction bid process and anyone who wants to put in a bid can, as long as they live in an area below 7,000 feet in elevation. 

He said this particular home would be difficult to keep warm in the winter above 7,000 feet elevation, and the roof would not be able to handle the snow load in higher elevation areas. 

“The opening bid is $95,000 and we feel the value is close to $150,000,” Gregory said. 

He said the price of the home itself cannot go higher than that because there are parameters around how much they can charge for the home since it was technically free labor that built the home. 

Another caveat to pricing is whether or not the buyer wants to keep the furniture that the home was staged with. The staged furniture was provided by iFurnish. 

High school principal Doug Blake said having these offerings at the school are paramount.

“This an opportunity to find relevant learning experiences that tie in all the requisite knowledge and put it into application,” Blake said. “It’s the future of teaching and learning, as a district, to talk about expansion of career pathways, and this project serves as a model for that.”

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