Skills Canada and senior construction students at Elmira District Secondary School are putting their trade skills to good use, building a shed to be auctioned off, with the proceeds going to support MennoHomes’ affordable housing project under construction on Church Street East.
MennoHomes executive director Dan Driedger says they originally started talking with the school about ways that the Skills Canada students could be involved in the spring, which is when students began building the shed. They took time off over the summer holidays and have since started working on it again this fall.
“Back in 2010 they were very involved in the construction of the semi that we have on Centre Street. They built it. It was a very hands-on project. They did the framing, they did a lot of work on it. Now this is a much different project, just because of the type of construction it is. It didn’t really lend itself to that sort of involvement, but they still wanted to get involved somehow,” Driedger said.
In talking with the school, he said EDSS tech department head Randy Dyck told him in the past they built a shed like this and donated it to Habitat for Humanity. Habitat then sold it at one of their ReStores and the money went to Habitat.
The shed is being completely built out of donated materials from local businesses. Once it’s all done there will be an online auction set up where people can bid on it. The actual shed will sit in the Foodland parking lot to let people see it and there will be information on it about how they can bid.
“We’re going to want to get it appraised for market value and then if somebody bids higher than a certain percentage of the market value they’ll actually get a tax receipt for it as well,” Dyck said.
Building this shed isn’t part of the students’ school work. They’ve been coming in early to school and working in their free periods to build it.
Dyck was on hand supervising the students and noted the ones who’ve played a big role in building it are Chad Martin, Nathan Horst, Walker Schott, Shannon Metzger, Dallas Bauman, Nathan Hoffman, Hunter Lipki, Jacob Davis, Markus Krepstakes, Adam Weber, Jordan Metzger, Keith Schwendinger and Ben Beacom.
“They’re there because they want to be there. And it’s giving back directly to the community that they live in which is pretty cool,” Driedger said.
They’re hoping to have it done by the end of October which would let them have the auction closing in November so that it could still be delivered to someone’s back yard before the snow flies.
As for the affordable housing project, Driedger said construction is coming along. There were some initial delays after the groundbreaking but after that they got going full tilt in the middle of June. He expects they’ll be putting the next floor on shortly. The plan is to have the building closed in by early December, depending on the weather.
“We’ve had quite a number of local sub-trades that have been successful with their tenders, with their bids on the project. That demonstrates I think a really strong level of local support for the project. So it’s nice to see the local sub-trades getting involved on the construction side of things,” Driedger said.
And fundraising is continuing and ongoing.
Driedger says they’d love to have the community look at the shed and realize the time and energy the students put into it. They definitely want to get market value for it, but it would be even better if someone came alone wanting to make a strong commitment to the project, who just so happened to need a shed.
For MennoHomes, it’s just nice to have the students involved, said Driedger.
“They were excited to be there and you could tell they were enjoying it. A lot of times people have different opinions on the youth of today. This is a really great group of young guys that are doing something big that they wouldn’t have to, to help others.”