Building began in March, supervised by Romano along with two community volunteers, contractor Tyler Kolbo and retired Boeing employee Karl Stromvall.
Along with five hours per week of class time, the boys had five additional six-hour build days. A typical build day involved goal-setting and then dividing into groups to work on particular elements, for example walls, windows, roofing and siding. Romano, Kolbo and Stromvall taught the necessary skills on site, and along the way the students learned how to use a range of tools from measuring tapes to nail guns to blow torches.
The process had its challenges and surprises. One student got temporarily stuck to the roofing material while working on the roof. Another morning the school security team found a homeless person actually sleeping in the partly finished tiny house in the school parking lot. There were many highlights as well, including experiencing the changing of the seasons while working long hours outside and watching the structure develop into a home. The roof crew regularly burst into song.
“In building, the boys had the opportunity to slow down and think about their actions,” said Romano. “We like to say ‘measure twice, cut once.’ That might be a good life lesson for boys.”