CONWAY — If you've ever thought about downsizing or even taking your house on the road, have Paul Cail and his building trades students got a deal for you.
Students in the MWV Career and Technical Center are iinishing up a new tiny house that they hope to sell this fall.
It’s the second one the Eagles have built in two years. This one, a bit bigger than the first, has taken longer to finish. Cail hoped it would be done by the end of the school year, but that didn't happen.
Last year's home totaled 192 square feet and included a living room, kitchen, bathroom and sleeping loft.
This year’s home, said senior Jack Sequin, totals more than 210 square feet and is 6 feet longer and 6 inches wider, with a larger loft space. It also has a living room, kitchen, bathroom.
Joining Sequin on the project were classmates Shiloh Ayotte, Sonny DaBica, Derek Dascoulias, Logan Eldridge, Andrew Evans, Eathan Frye, Shane Gauthier, William Green, Nathan Higgins, Ethan Lane, Wilfrid McAuliffe, Jake Tagliaferri and Luke Taylor, along with seniors Dylan West and Neil Harrison, who participated as part of an independent study.
Aside from building the tiny house, the students took on an 18-foot-by-18-foot gazebo for Pine Tree School, built storage sheds and chicken coops along with dog houses and even a handful of picnic tables for the town of Madison.
“It’s all good,” Cail said. “I would say students are doing 99 percent of the work. ... I’m a person who does a lot of pointing and grunting,” he joked.
Colin Cheretion, a rising junior, said, “My favorite part was working on the clapboards (of the tiny house).”
Cail said the students received a helping hand from the community.
“I had a great guy volunteer his time to help out with the tiny house,” he said. “His name is Gary Ward, and he’s a 75-year-old master electrician in Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire.
"He wanted to give back to what he had learned and was a tremendous help. I have to tell you that he was blown away by the work ethic of my students. We’re just about ready to wrap the electricity part of this up.”
Cail said the plan is to mothball the tiny house for the summer.
“Next fall, we’ll start back up, and Gary will help finish the wiring,” he said. “The students were a little bummed that we couldn't finish it (this school year). The five seniors (Sequin, Ayotte, Gauthier, Green and Higgins,) and I had seen what was happening, production had (slowed from April on), craftsmanship had stopped.
Towards the end (of the school year) I took everyone from the tiny house and they worked to finish the gazebo. Nate Higgins was the lead builder for the gazebo and did a great job.”
During the 2016-17 school year, four schools competed in the Tiny House New Hampshire initiative. Besides Kennett, they included Alvirne High School in Hudson, Seacoast School of Technology in Exeter and Huot Career and Technical Center in Laconia.
The New Hampshire state lottery launched a scratch ticket game called "Tiny House Big Money" in January, and the house that took first place was to go to the winner.
The Eagles finished second in the statewide contest at the 50th N.H. State Home Show at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester on March 18-19, 2017.
The winning school was Huot of Laconia, which utilized members of the Lakes Region Home Builders Association workers to complete its tiny house.
While nothing in the rules forbade using professional help, Kennett's house was almost entirely student-built.
The Eagles did receive financial help from the MWV and N.H. Home Builders Association.
Kennett’s first tiny house was posted on eBay, where it sold for $25,000 — to whom, school officials don't know.
Cail hopes to bring the latest tiny house to market this fall and then will roll up their sleeves and build another one.
“We’ll definitely build another,” Cail said. “In fact, I just got a phone call from a woman who wants us to build her one.”
Cail said he and his students need some donations to turn this tiny house into a home before it is sold. Topping the wish list is appliances.
“We need a stove, a refrigerator, a TV and electronics,” he said. “It’s wired upstairs and downstairs for coaxial cable. I’m also going to need volunteers to help out with the plumbing. This community is always so great to us whenever we have a need.”
Cail believes this house is not only bigger but also better than the last one.
“Absolutely,” he said. “There’s more craftsmanship.”
Anyone wishing to help should call Cail or Career Tech Director Virginia Schrader at (603) 356-4370 or email Cail at email@example.com.