High school kids swarmed around a back yard shed at the North Liberty home of Liberty High industrial education instructor Micah Casper one morning earlier this week.
Ninth grader Francis Mitchell helped his teacher stack sacks of shingles which he said will eventually be used to build a pathway from the house to the shed.
Another student, David Allen, was busy inside the building with an electric drill, making wide holes through studs so other students could fish electrical wire through to the outlets.
Several others were hauling construction debris, gathering up tools, raking the ground and otherwise cleaning up the project site.
“My classes built this entire building,” said Casper, “including pouring the concrete slab. We framed it up at the school, then took it apart and reassembled it here.”
He says his wife wanted a garden shed and the class needed a project, so it was a match. The couple paid for all materials, of course.
This is the third small shed his students have built, but the instructor now has his eye on a bigger prize.
“We’re pushing the administration to get a totally student-built home,” he told me. “All three high schools would be involved. We’re working on the logistics now.”
Casper and others lament what seems to be something of a district phenomenon: A general lack of student interest in building trades, even in a region like this one where construction is booming.