HawCC students are highlighted in an article in the Big Island News Center on Tuesday, May 8, 2012.
By: Sherry Bracken
Students at Hilo’s Hawaii Community College’s vocational technical program are gaining practical, on-the-job experience as they design, engineer, and build a home to be used by the Department of Hawaiian Homelands. This is the 45th home to be built under this innovative program, which began in 1965.
Since then, more than 3600 Hawaii Community College students have gained on-the-job experience.
This year’s home has 1300 square feet of living space with three bedrooms and two baths, a carport, storage, walkways, and a back lanai. The students started with bare land. Students in the Diesel program cleared and graded the lot, and they repair other equipment used during the building. Students studying Architecture, Engineering, and Computer Aided Design Technology designed the home. The Carpentry students did the basic construction starting from the foundation up. The Electrical students installed wiring, fixtures, and a photovoltaic system. And the Agriculture program students designed and furnished minimal low maintenance landscaping—and they’ll maintain the ground until the new tenant takes over. Hawaii Community College subcontracts any work the students don’t do.
The model home program is a joint venture with Department of Hawaiian Homelands. They make sure the house has energy efficient appliances and CFL lightbulbs.
HCC Instructor Gene Harada says he himself graduated from this program in 1975. He worked on the 11th house. He says the experience students gain is invaluable.
Department of Hawaiian Homelands is blessing the home on Thursday, before turning it over to the new resident. The total cost of the house was just under $200,000. As Harada says, this is a win-win, with students learning how to implement what they’ve learned, a family getting a new home, and the Department of Hawaiian Homelands spending considerably less than what they might.