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Students complete 'great learning experience'

There was one more highlight recently on Wadena's road to recovery from the June 2010 tornado that devastated portions of the community. On the site of a home destroyed by the storm, a crew of student carpenters completed the biggest project ever tackled by a carpentry class on the Wadena campus of Minnesota State Community and Technical College.

Shortly before the storm's one-year anniversary, a crew led by Dave Kraemer, instructor in M State's Carpentry Science program, completed a 3,200-square-foot, two-story home on 7th Street Southwest in Wadena. About a dozen students began work on the home last fall.

"It went very smoothly," Kraemer said. "It was a huge project with the number of students we had. We've never built anything that big."

The four-bedroom, four-bath home replaces a 1 1/2 story rental unit on the site. Amenities include maple flooring on the main floor, oak flooring upstairs, walk-in closets in every bedroom, laundry rooms on the upper and lower levels, a master bedroom suite above the garage, a mini-kitchen in the basement and a set-up for a wood-burning fireplace.

Kraemer said his class had never before attempted a two-story home, and it was "a great learning experience for the students." Students also gained experience in green building trends, insulating the home throughout with spray foam insulation. Kraemer said the insulation costs more than traditional methods, but the homeowner will have recouped the extra cost in four years through lower heating and air conditioning bills.

In addition to carpentry students, the home was a worksite for students in the Construction Electricity and Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning programs.

Students in the Carpentry Science program build a home each year as part of their coursework. Owners of the homes pay for the cost of building materials, plus an amount equal to 20 percent of the building material cost is paid to M State.

Students interested in enrolling in the one-year Carpentry Science program at M State - Wadena for fall semester can contact M State at (800) 247-2007 or (218) 631-7800, or visit Fall courses begin Aug. 23.