Johnson Central ATC Students Excited about Construction of Tiny House

The excitement is obvious at Johnson Central High School when students and ATC staff discuss their first tiny house project!  The trailer, purchased at P & J Trailer Service in Paintsville, has been modified by the welding class to extend the width of the building.  Under the direction of Mr. Chuck Wetzel, welding instructor from the agriculture department, the students are completing the trailer enhancements and construction is about to begin on the floor and walls of the tiny house! 

Mr. Terry Bowling, carpentry instructor, says he loves the project and is very excited.  He explained that they are facing issues with the facilities this year and the tiny house will be constructed outdoors, but with the assistance of grant funding and the extension of the carpentry classroom,  next year’s project will be erected in a closed, covered work area.

Mr. Bowling commented that “the students themselves are taking the project from the planning stage to the finished product”.

Cody Bailey, a junior, is enrolled in both the welding and carpentry classes.   He knows he will “learn a lot and be doing a lot of work in both classes”.  Cody’s plans for the future are to become a mechanic, with a fallback plan of doing some welding and possibly construction work.

Three students in Mr. Marc Shepherd’s engineering class have been charged with designing the tiny house.  Original plans had to be revamped when a 24 feet trailer was purchased instead of the proposed 16 feet one.  With the altering of the width by the welding students, the width measurement increased from 8 feet to 8 1/2 feet.

An interesting aspect of the planning phase is that Mr. Shepherd is taking the kids into “actual spaces” so they can envision the area they actually have to work with for a specific section.  He explained that the interior design will be a “modern style with a classical kind of look”.  As the engineering students create the design, they are considering the facts that consumers of tiny houses want a full-sized refrigerator and do not want to climb a ladder.

Mr. Shepherd stated, “It is really interesting how we’re going to pull this off.  The engineering students will be documenting the entire project as if they’re the foremen.  The media students will be documenting the process as if it is an HGTV show.”

One of the engineering students is also a student in Mr. Todd Conley’s television class and will be videoing the project throughout each phase.  Since the high school has its own TV station in-house, the students will be creating video segments of events such as window delivery, and airing them.

Lowe’s in Paintsville is working closely with Johnson Central ATC on the cost of materials and possible donations.  Therefore Lowe’s will be recognized in the filming as the provider for the materials with discounts and/or donations. 

The design team is currently looking at specifications for the best refrigerators, stoves, energy units and other necessary items.  Mr. Shepherd said they are “taking the good ideas and putting them all together”.  He is very optimistic that with the change in the dimensions their tiny house “might have the most grand bathroom in a tiny house ever!”.

The progress of the tiny house construction will be followed and documented over the next several months with the finished building being on display at KVEC’s FireSummit at the Expo Center in Pikeville on April 11.


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