Construction Trades Class Returns to LHS

Construction Trades Class Returns To Luverne High School After 40 Years
Posted on 09/21/2022
By: Mavis Fodness, Rock County Star Herald

A vocational education class returned to Luverne High School Tuesday with “Today and Tomorrow’s Tradesmen” (TnT Tradesmen for short).

The trades class, which now has nine students, hasn’t been offered in Luverne for over 40 years.

LHS woodshop teacher Daryl VanAartsen teaches the class and told the Luverne School Board about it at their Aug. 25 meeting.

“My goal for that class is to be able to encompass as many types of trades and occupations that will be involved in building a house or any other type of project,” he said.

Board members previously authorized the purchase of a construction trailer to house tools and equipment needed at job sites.

The start-up costs of the program are paid through federal ESSR (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds.

“I am very excited about this program,” said board member Katie Baustian. “These nine kids are going to have a great experience. … They want non-traditional education; they don’t want to sit in a classroom.”

In the future, Van Aartsen wondered if students from nearby districts could also participate in the class, similar to the vocational-technical classes in Luverne that were discontinued in the late 1980s.

The current construction trades class partners with the city of Luverne through building inspector Chad McClure.

He said a series of fortunate events helped the process along.

First, a South Highway 75 house came available when its occupant, Real Estate Retrievers, moved to a larger building.

The house would be moved to make way for new development on the lot. “The house is in good shape,” McClure said. “All the plumbing is still in the walls. It was not gutted into the office space.”

Through the city’s blight removal program, a house was removed on East Dodge Street and the 68-by-135-foot lot was cleared for new residential development.

That lot size wasn’t ideal for modern new home construction, but it was large enough for the story-and-a-half Real Estate Retrievers’ house and a new detached garage.

“At the end of the day, we’ll have a house being put into the market place,” McClure said.

“The city would own the house that will have a new basement with an egress window added. It will be a three- to four-bedroom house with two bathrooms and a nice double garage.”

VanAartsen said the TnT Tradesmen students will plan the layout of the house and the garage and participate in the house’s move to the new location.

They’ll also help with construction of the new garage and basement excavation, foundation build.

“It can be a win-win for us all the way around — not just the city, not just for the school but a lot of trades in the community,” VanAartsen said.

“I am hoping we can have one or two of them (students) out of this class who want to stay in that market, at least, and hopefully in Luverne itself.”

Proceeds from the sale of the home will support another construction project — another home remodel or new construction — for the 2023-24 school year.  
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