Brown, drafting class helps Port Authority with housing floor plans

When the Pondera Regional Port Authority called on Conrad teacher Dan Brown with a question regarding some assistance with modifications to a floor plan, neither knew what they were getting into.

The Port Authority was in the beginning stages of their newest home construction project that is a part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

Cheryl Curry, the Executive Director, had purchased a house plan online that needed only minor modifications, but once the plan was received the Port computer did not have the proper program with which to make the modifications.

In trying to solve the problem she was directed to ask Brown, who, among other classes, teaches drafting at the high school.

Brown took a look at the plan and the needed modifications and thought it would be a perfect project for his senior drafting students.There began a project that has been a great learning experience for all involved.

Senior Drafting students Rebecca Brown, daughter of Dan and Amy Brown, and Tyler Schultz, son of Alice and Rocky Schultz, were eager to tackle the project.It turned out to be a larger project that any anticipated, but one in which these students gained a lot of real world experience with building codes, practical design concepts and architectural design.

They made an innovative change to the original plan by relocating the mechanical room on the main floor rather than in the crawl space, and rearranging the master wardrobe and bath for a more usable and practical design.

The students were able to make the design changes while maintaining the structural integrity of the building and staying in compliance with building codes. The students were challenged by some technical applications of their computer software needed in converting the plan.

They used their classroom instruction information and the experienced consultation of John McFarland, Conrad Building Center owner and also Port Authority President, to modify the plan of this three bedroom, two-bathroom home to create a plan that will now be used by the Port Authority when they go to bid in the next week or two.

This was good practical experience, and also a very valuable community service for these students. It is a great example of the kinds of collaboration that create win-win situations within a community, with the Port Authorityreceiving the plan modifications they required and the students getting the experience of real world problem solving.

This project is part of the second phase of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program with which Pondera Regional Port Authority has been involved since 2010.

During that time three foreclosed homes were purchased and either replaced or renovated and made available to income qualified families or individuals.

The current house project is planned for construction at 12 S. Maryland and will be available for qualified persons at or below 120 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), which is currently at $46,550 for a single person, and $66,500 for a family of four.

If you are interested in the program, this home is projected to be available by summer of 2014, and you may contact Curry at the Port Authority 313 S. Main, next to the Mane Barber Shop or call her at 271-7237 to find out more about it.