District Kicks-Off Building Project

Groundbreaking ceremony at 1230 S. Sheridan

From left: Dan McGuire, OHS principal; Juan Andrade, OHS senior; Mayor Tom Lazio; Trevor Smith, Construction Technology teacher; Nicole Kooiker, Superintendent; Jeff Kirby, Director of Innovative Programs; Mike Dalbey, School Board Vice President; Marlene Sprouse, IHCC president; and Matt Thompson, Vice President, Academic Affairs & Institutional Effectiveness.

A short ceremony under a hot, August sun kicked off the start of Ottumwa High School's Construction Technology program. 

Several district and community members were on hand to celebrate the partnerships between the district, the City of Ottumwa, and Indian Hills Community College. Superintendent Nicole Kooiker welcomed the crowd and shared information about the revived program. 

Beginning this fall, OHS will again offer a Construction Technology course to juniors and seniors in a block schedule format. Students will learn all aspects of building a new house through authentic learning opportunities. The program will partner with various construction trades employers in the area to provide guidance and support throughout the building process. A partnership with Indian Hills will allow students to earn both high school and college credit simultaneously. Students will graduate with the skills and experiences needed to enter a college or apprenticeship program, or go directly into the workforce.

The district acquired several vacant lots from the City of Ottumwa that will serve as future building sites. "Our long-term goal is to build a new house each year," said Kooiker. The student-constructed, 1,100 square foot home on S. Sheridan will feature three bedrooms, two baths, a two-car garage, and will have a full basement. The course will provide hands-on opportunities for students while they gain real world job experience. 

OHS senior, Juan Andrade who attended the ground breaking ceremony, will take the class this year. He has worked with his dad on remodeling projects and is interested in the construction trades as a career option.