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June 15, 2016
It’s not everyday that you get dirty when attending classes at Piedmont Technical College. Unless you are enrolled in the Building Construction Technology program.
Students in the BCT program are not only learning about construction, they are putting it to use. They are building a house.
“It takes a lot of fortitude to go out with $100,000 and a group of students and build a house,” said Bobby Roche, instructor/coordinator for the BCT division.
The BCT program has been involved with the building project since 1998 and this is the fifth house they have built. The average house takes nearly two years to complete.
“We are not a construction company,” said Roche. “We go out there when it is relevant to what we are teaching.”
Students get practical training in estimating building costs, carpentry, cabinet making, residential wiring, blueprint reading, brick masonry, construction, building codes and safety. Students in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning program coordinate the proper installation of heating and cooling units and the horticulture program does the final landscaping of the property.
“Involving several programs around campus is an excellent way to learn to work together,” Roche explained. “It gives students confidence and makes them feel more comfortable with the type of projects they’ll be doing once they graduate.”
The project begins when the students in the second-year class prepare five potential proposals and then present three of those for approval. The students are then responsible for submitting a time schedule, formal budget and cost estimate.
The program is not for your typical student. Roche said each day is different based on what the class is studying.
“Kids in this curriculum don’t want to sit in the classroom,” he said. “They are hands-on.”
The preparation the students receive from the class sets them apart.
“We’ve got a very good reputation in the building world,” said Tara Lindley, instructor. “We’ve got one heck of a program and it continues to grow.”
The PTC Foundation makes the entire project possible. A tract of land is usually purchased by or donated to the foundation. Once the house is sold, proceeds are used for BCT student scholarships, support of the BCT program and a continuation of the project with the purchase of new property.
In addition to the Foundation, many area businesses have provided support for the project through donations of time and materials. Those donors include Forterra, Holaim, Hodges Concrete Products, Carolina Concrete, Lowe's, Snead's, Joe Hill Masonry, Exterior Supply, Quality Wood Truss, Norbord, Lakelands Hardware, Triangle Hardware and Milwaukee Tool.
Roche said that one goal of the program is to instill in the students the understanding that they need to give back to the community. For this purpose, the BCT program has created BCT For Life. The student organization raises money for needy families at Christmas and has adopted a stretch of highway.
“As you go through life, you’ve got to give back,” Roche said.
For more information on the building construction technology program, contact Roche at (864) 941-8465 or go to www.ptc.edu/bct.