Tiny House Movement Takes Big Strides with Santa Barbara-Area High School Students

Three tiny homes built by advanced woodworking and construction technology students from Santa Barbara public high schools are up for auction this month.

A 230-square-foot house, built on a DMV-registered flatbed trailer, comes with a bathroom, kitchen features and a sleeping loft that can fit a queen-sized bed. The home is on display from 5 to 7 p.m. May 23 at Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real. The third annual “Big Show” — a construction technology and woodworking event and competition — is free to attend.

The tiny home program is offered to Santa Barbara Unified School District students from Dos Pueblos, San Marcos and Santa Barbara high schools.

“Building the tiny house provides the students with hands-on residential construction experience similar to building a custom home, just on a smaller, portable and more manageable scale,” Santa Barbara High woodshop teacher Caleb Chadwick told Noozhawk.

“The classes offered at all of the high schools in the district combine not only modern building practices but also fine woodworking and carpentry that is current with today’s standards.”

Students also learn how to use current technology so they can earn employable skills, Chadwick said.

The estimated price to build a tiny home “varies greatly,” he said, adding that the average online price is $70,000.

Each team of about 30 students began working on the project nearly two years ago, with students taking part in various roles and constructing the houses from the ground up.

“I started the project my freshman year, and it was the base,” said Santa Barbara High junior Natasha Romanchuk, 17. “It’s fun because I consider this project a form of art. It feels good to see it come together.”

The tiny house program at the three high schools began to take shape in 2016 following a $50,000 grant from the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara, and $25,000 from the school district in 2017 to facilitate the program.

Additional support comes from the Tradart Foundation, a career technical education nonprofit organization, which provides and distributes tools, supplies and building materials to woodshop and construction technology classes.

“With the money, we bought the materials and started the program to build tiny homes,” said Frank Schipper, board president of Tradart Foundation.

The tiny home is up for auction on May 23, and will be open to the highest bidder, ending June 8. Profits that come from the sale will be used to continue the program.

“This is a sustaining project, and we can start new with the money that we sell them for to fund new tiny homes,” Schipper said.

“It gives the students a real chance at construction experience — drywall, carpentry, electrical, solar, plumbing, roofing — it’s all part of the tiny home.”

Source: Noozhawk


TRADART Foundation