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2018 Tiny House Has Found a Buyer

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5a1ed044f2f51Seniors Colten & Bailey
Seniors Colten & Bailey

Central Lyon High School technological instructor, Grant Engel, has had big goals for the tiny house project he started in his classroom shop last year, including expanding the project. After completing the first tiny house, which sold on auction last summer, the goal was to offer the project in subsequent years at very little cost to the school district.

This year's tiny house was listed for sale on a national tiny house listing with the option of being customized. "Right away, I started getting  emails and phone calls. The day after I posted it, this potential buyer gave me a phone call and he was the first person that showed interest," said Engel. The project was listed as a class build and advertised for the selling price on materials only. "We were looking to sell it so we can built another next year, and year after year. We're not trying to make a profit, I just want to keep doing it," explained Engel.

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Earlier this month, the potential buyer for the current tiny house visited Engel to take a look, choose finishing details and bring a deposit. Bryan Buerkle of Cedar Falls, Iowa, plans to use the class project for a vacation home for his family on a lake with the possibility of renting it out on the weekends. He's been working with Engel on the customization of the tiny house-which will include a foldout deck-through email and pictures. According to Engel, he drew up the framing plans and Buerkle sent drawing to indicate where he wanted things located such as the stove in the kitchen.

Seniors Colten Van Beek and Bailey DeBoer provide student leadership and are in the class for the second year. During the buyer's first visit, Mr. Engel and Superintendent Ackerman explained to Buerkle the impact of the project has had on students, something Buerkle was also impressed with. "Great job to you as superintendent for allowing him to do this and to you as a teacher for doing this. This is a great life skill you're teaching. This is just awesome to see," said Buerkle. "This is real stuff. I'm an engineer and I see where kids don't understand the practical skills for math and science. I'm just so glad to see this happening with students and you have a great shop here".

For Mr. Engel, having his students complete the tiny house project in the context of working directly with the buyer is another valuable piece of the lesson. "It make a huge difference in the building of the house to have it already sold and to be customizing it," he said. "The comparison is similar to building a custom home versus building a spec house. We are building a tiny home to a specific person's needs and wants, not trying to guess what a homeowner would want," he explained. "It makes every decision in the building process  easier and it gives the students opportunity to work with the owner to understand the dynamic between builder and homeowner when working together on a project. These are all important skills."  

~Pieces of this article are the work of Lyon Co. Reporter Managing Editor Jessica Jensen