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GRTS Building Trades Students Build Home
August 5, 2014

CAPTION: Pictured above is Mitchell and Katie Cooper's house located at 10697 Old Highway 190 built by GRTS students and staff for their 2013-2014 school year project.


C_T Photo/ Brittany Tutt

The Grand River Technical School (GRTS) is almost complete with their 2013-2014 school year house. Don Dennis, who teaches Building Trades at GRTS, said they should be completely done within the next few weeks. All that's left to do is to put in the stair rail, a few pieces of cedar trim, base trim in the basement, garage doors and touch up the paint in the basement. Owners, Mitchell and Katie Cooper, moved in this past Saturday according to Dennis.

GRTS has built a house every year since the 1967-1968 school year. Up until five years ago, GRTS would build a house and then auction that house off when it was finished. Recently, people who wanted GRTS to build them a new house would bring a building plan to the instructors to look at and see if they could do what they were asking. After that, those potential GRTS home owners would bring in their bid of how much they would pay GRTS to build their future home with a $10,000 required minimum. Obviously, whoever is the highest bidder wins the bidding. Future GRTS home owners are required to pay for all material needed to make the house in addition to their bid. They would usually set up an account at the manufacturer of their choice, said Dennis. Future GRTS home owners would pay half of the cost up front and then the other half at the time of completion, according to Dennis. The Coopers were the only bidders this past year.

For the house for the 2014-2015 school year, GRTS is returning back to their old way of doing things. They will go back to building a spec house and then auctioning it off upon completion. Dennis said, "It's just easier to make decisions that way... It's a simpler process when you can pick out your own material," said Dennis.

Mitchell Cooper wanted to thank Dennis and GRTS instructor Chris Todd for being flexible. Cooper said they made a few changes on the fly that weren't in their original house plan, but both instructors were very open to the changes. The Coopers' house has 2,300 square feet on the main floor. This 2,300 square feet is filled with 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, and an open kitchen, living room and dining room concept. The house also consists of a 2,300 square foot finished basement that consists of 1 office, 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, a bar area with the rest an open floor plan. The house also has a 2-car garage and a 400 square foot bonus room above the garage that has a half bathroom in it. The outside is made of vinyl siding and stone and has a covered porch with a stone fireplace in the back. The Coopers also put in an underground swimming pool; however, GRTS did not build that feature. According to Mitchell, there are still a lot of little things that need to be done - the main one being yard work; but his family is loving the new house and are settling in nicely. According to Dennis, 37 students worked on the house this past school year. These students are juniors and seniors in high school, and some adults who have come back to learn a trade.

There will be no open house this year as of right now; however, according to Dennis, GRTS has already started working on the 2014-2015 school year house. This house will be located in the Lake View Estates.

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