Lundar School students build for the future — and help others

The school will auction off a finished RTM built by the students as 
part of their Industrial Arts program integrating home building in their studies

Lundar School carpentry teacher Donald Nikkel (l) oversees the school's Industrial Arts home-building project giving students like 16-year-old Cauy Kinkead valuable training and skills.

Lots of students haven’t nailed down what they plan to do after high school but 16-year-old Cauy Kinkead definitely has.

He plans to become a journeyman carpenter, and he credits his school’s unique Industrial Arts program, with its emphasis on home construction, for piquing his interest in a trade.

The Grade 10 student at Lundar School was among 80 others taking part in a unique project at their school this year — building a completely finished ready-to-move home.

Lundar’s is the only school in Manitoba that integrates home building into its Industrial Arts program, while involving a broad cross-section of its school population. The school also has an apprenticeship option beyond school hours allowing students to work during the summers under the supervision of a journeyman and earn high school credits while building hours for their apprenticeship.

Kinkead is earning his credits that way, then plans to pursue further studies at Red River College, and says house building while still in high school definitely gave him the nudge to pursue his chosen vocation.

“Everybody just gains a whole new level of respect for it and learns a lot about working hard and putting your best effort forward in everything you do,” he said.

This is the second RTM built by Lundar School students. The 1,000-sq.-ft. three bedroom open-concept house is completely finished, including installed cabinetry and flooring. It will be auctioned off later this month.

Proceeds from the sale of the first RTM built over this past three years has made more learning experiences possible for involved students. This past March they also travelled to Guatemala to build a house with Habitat for Humanity too.

“We did a bunch of brainstorming on what to do with (the funds from the first RTM sale) and what would be the next step for our carpentry program,” said Lundar teacher Donald Nikkel who oversees the IA program. “One of the ideas we came up with was taking the skills that we learned and applying them to a new scenario and new setting and helping someone else.”

The home they travelled outside Canada to build in March was for a single mother with two children, and that trip was another eye-opener, says Kinkead. They were using new materials — cinder block — for a home sturdy enough to withstand the intense humidity and earthquakes. A chance to see another country gave them all a new perspective too, he said.

“I think we all definitely came home with a different outlook on how things are here at home,” he said. “You just really appreciate what we have here.”

This latest twist is part of their evolving and unique Industrial Arts program. It all began five years ago building simple garden sheds, said Nikkel.

“We built an outdoor classroom the following year, and after that an RTM,” he said.

This second RTM, now completed on the school grounds, will be auctioned off in mid-June. The additional learning building this has involved placing special emphasis on high-energy efficiency and green building standards, said Nikkel.

“One of the things I really pushed building this one was not just looking at where building construction is today but where it’s going,” he said.

“We used really good-quality materials and increased that energy efficiency and materials that would last the longest amount of time.”

One example is their choice of roof. It’s metal. That will last at least four times as long as shingles, and eventually be a recyclable material, said Nikkel.

“We gave a lot of thought about the materials used but also what happens when they reach the end of their life cycle,” he said.

Learning about building for greater energy efficiency and using these longer-lasting materials meant “a lot more challenges and meant a lot more decisions to make,” adds Kinkead. But that was very valuable learning too.

“I never knew anything about this green building stuff until we learned it this year,” he said. “I didn’t know there was tin that recycles itself, or about going above and beyond to make this house something for the future, not just building for the way things have been for the last 50 years.

“We built this home to be the next step ahead of where it could be at,” he said.

Now Lundar School is hoping to generate lots of interest when they auction it off on June 13 on their school grounds at 5 p.m. An open house is being held June 10 from 1 to 3:30 to view the house in advance. For more information contact Lundar School at 204-762-5610.

About the author


Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.



Stories from our other publications