CEDAR RAPIDS — What do you get when you give 18 high school students an empty shipping container and $24,000 worth of donated materials and money?
The answer is a home, but one that could easily fit in your backyard.
For the second time, the Architecture, Construction & Engineering Career Academy at Kirkwood Community College has produced a tiny house. According to organizers, “tiny” stands for Trades Investing Nurturing Youth. But it also describes what you’d get if you make the winning sealed bid on the 40-foot by 8-foot container before the deadline next Monday.
“You watch the shows on TV, it’s $50,000 starting price for something like this,” said Professor Allen Witt, who teaches the course. “You’ll see them on TV at 180 square feet, 200 square feet. This one is actually very spacious at 266 square feet” of living space inside.
Last year, Kirkwood funded the majority of a similar project — spending $17,000 out of pocket and using $7,000 of donated material, Witt said.
That tiny home sold for $17,700, giving Kirkwood a small profit. The Mount Pleasant woman who bought that home declined a request Tuesday for an interview.
This year, the project is completely funded through donated materials and funds through a partnership with Greater Cedar Rapids Housing & Building Association, a nonprofit organization that supports building professionals in the area.
The estimated market price of the home is $24,000. Witt said this means any profits that come from the sale of the home can go directly to the students in the form of scholarships and project funding.
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“There is no cost involved, but the idea is that because people donated and are trying to create this fund it would be really powerful to think about the next tiny house and the next one,” he said. “Pretty soon you actually could start creating a fund to do scholarships and really grow the program which was the end game all along.”
The high school students who built it participate in the college’s outreach program where they earn both high school and college credit. It took the students about 12 weeks to complete the project and Witt estimated the students spent roughly 700 hours total working on the home. They installed all of the features, from the electricity to the flooring.
However, there were some improvements made after learning some valuable lessons from last year’s build.
Small improvements, like adding more storage and using sliding doors, were made. And there were large changes in the design, like insulation and a new floor plan.
The home is on display at Hills Bank and Trust Company, 3905 Blairs Ferry Road NE, Cedar Rapids. Bid forms are available there.
While homes under 660 square feet are not allowed within Linn County’s jurisdiction, not all surrounding counties have regulations on home sizes. A news release from project organizers encourages those interested in purchasing the home to contact their local building department to determine options in their area.