NICC students work to complete Haas home


NICC students work to complete Haas home


Becky Walz


From start to finish, NICC Building Trades students have had one of the most valuable hands-on experiences available in northeast Iowa; building a home for Jay and Connie Haas at 505 North Jefferson Street in Calmar.

Construction on the 2900-square-foot ranch home is nearly complete as the students approach graduation this week. An open house is planned from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 18.

The main floor and basement each boast 1,450 square feet of living space, complete with a total of four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a great room, among many other features.

“The students were basically workhorses for this house. Completing both levels of this home is a tribute to the students’ work ethic, accountability, and desire to finish what they started,” said third-year carpentry instructor Brian Ondrashek.

The four-bedroom, single-story home has two full bathrooms on the main floor, with an extra bathroom in the finished basement.  The bathrooms are finished with ceramic tile and an elegant tiled walk-in shower in the master bathroom is a must-see.

The first story utilizes hardwood hickory floors in the great room, kitchen, dining and laundry rooms and features carpet in the bedrooms and walk-in closet.

A main service open stairwell leading to the basement has hickory treads and white painted toekicks, on the balustrade, oak handrails complement wrought-iron spindles.

Ondrashek noted that since the students were ahead of schedule, they were able to hang the masonry stone veneer on the front exterior of the home and had the opportunity to complete the fireplace with a stone veneer tile in the great room.

There is also a fully insulated 28’x28’ two-stall, attached garage for the Haases to enjoy.

Other unique challenges for the carpentry students included a two-tier wood deck and pergola off the back of the home, along with a covered concrete porch in front.

Both the basement and garage concrete slabs are insulated with foam and accompanied with a 10-mil. polyethylene vapor diffusion retarder below. 

The basement slab features in-floor radiant heat tubes, while the entire house is ventilated with a heat recovery ventilator air exchange system for quality air control. The home also utilizes a forced-air furnace system that is connected to the central air conditioner.

On June 25, 2012, the ground was broken for the single-dwelling home. The students were hands-on from the beginning, with drafting the home in June and complete the majority of the concrete work in July before the framing began in August.

“We were fortunate enough to have Mother Nature be kind to us last fall and were completely out of the weather by early December,” noted Ondrashek.

Originally the project began with six students, but the loss of a much-respected classmate, Gerald Hart, in February due to cancer pulled the students together.

Since NICC opened its doors in 1967, the carpentry program has been integral in teaching students necessary construction skills.

“These six students are the lowest numbers we have had for awhile, but numbers are looking slightly higher for 2013-14,” said Ondrashek with optimism. “The electrical program had approximately 16 students who also worked on the home.”

Anyone interested in having a home built by NICC Building Trades students can watch area newspapers in early November, when the college asks for bid applications.

Once bids are received, members of the career and technical faculty and staff score each house in regard to a variety of aspects, ultimately resulting in the best fit for students.

NICC charges $5 per square foot of covered roof area (house only) for a tool and equipment fee.

“I would just like to extend a huge thank-you to Jay and Connie for giving NICC the opportunity to build their home,” concluded Ondrashek. “It allowed us to offer the best type of hands-on training to our students and ultimately should set them up for a long, successful career in the construction and electrical industries. This year’s students did a tremendous job of taking pride in their work, and it shows in the finished project.”


CUTLINE  -   The carpentry class from Northeast Iowa Community College, along with the industrial electricians have worked hard since June to complete the Jay and Connie Haas home in Calmar while learning hands-on what it takes to build a home. Members of the carpentry class include (l-r) John Teslow, Rusty Cook, instructor Brian Ondrashek, Alex Michels, Justin Meyer, and Peyton Krueger. For more photos from the house, turn to page XXX. (Becky Walz photo) 

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