TCTC students work to rehab Warren home
By Kalea Hall
A house on Atlantic Street Northeast is starting to turn into a home with every nail hammered and tile laid by Trumbull Career & Technical Center students.
Twelve students in the center’s adult building trades program are learning every trade while remodeling the home for the Trumbull County Land Bank.
“When I first walked in her, it didn’t look like a house, and to see the actual process ... it’s pretty rewarding,” said Charles Anderson, 19, of Warren.
Anderson was hired recently by the city of Warren in the skilled maintenance department.
“It definitely prepared me for it,” he said of the TCTC program.
This is the second house the program was able to use to give students a real-world experience. During the first half of the program, students learn inside a lab and then they are brought out to a house to get to work. Before, they would build a house inside the lab.
“Remodeling is more the norm today than new construction,” said Bob Lidle, coordinator of the building trades program and an electrical instructor. “When you are doing something brand new, it’s actually easier. The students get a well-rounded experience.”
So far at the 1960s Cape Cod-style house, the students have poured concrete for a walkway, rewired the house, opened up the kitchen area, tiled the bathroom and kitchen, switched the waterlines from copper to a product called PEX and made several other fixes.
The students also will put on a new roof – one of the biggest parts of the job.
“Anyone who is in this program, they are going to learn a lot,” Lidle said. “The students are learning the tricks of the trade from true professionals.”
Employers, he said, want someone who knows how to do it all if necessary, but that doesn’t mean the students don’t find their particular niche while on the job.
While getting ready to install the kitchen cabinets, Vikki Fletcher, 59, of Youngstown shows off the kitchen tile floor she installed. “I liked doing these floors,” she said.
But Fletcher, who has been a registered nurse for more than 35 years, really likes to do it all. She decided to take the program while still working as a nurse so she can learn how to rehab a house.
“I am really glad I did it,” she said. “I got into some details I would have never known about.”
Like Anderson, Nicole Barnhart, 21, of Cortland, also got a job out of her experience in the program.
“I like to build things,” Barnhart said. “I have picked up a little more interest in electricity.”
Shawn Carvin, the land bank’s program director, said the house should go on the market in the fall. The owner/occupant must live in the house for three years, according the land bank’s rules.
“Our main focus is getting properties back to productive use,” Carvin said. “Having houses that are ready to move into is a really important part of our programming.”