ST. JOHN — Students in Adam Moritz’s Industrial Arts program at St. John-Hudson Unified School District 350 are making a wreck of the inside of a 73-year-old home at 611 N. Broadway and striving to get good grades for their destructive efforts.
"They’re getting some good solid hands’ on experience," Moritz said of the 30 students involved in the project that resulted from the donation of the home to the school district by St. John resident Tom Garner.
Moritz is the designated project director, forming a team with superintendent Josh Meyer and SJHS principal Blaine White.
Moritz said the goal is for students to first demolish and then remodel the 1,700-square-foot residence that had been in the Garner family for three generations. It was constructed by Tom Garner’s uncle, Robert Garner, in 1947.
The real-life classroom is convenient for Moritz and students, located just a block north of St. John High School.
Mortiz said that through the renovation process, students will learn the various trades it takes to put a house back together, including electric wiring, plumbing, insulation, general carpentry, frame work, drywall, painting and finish work.
The project started at the beginning of the 2020 school year and the goal is to complete the work no later than spring 2022.
While a primary goal of the project is to give students an opportunity to learn general carpentry and various other skilled trades, Moritz said it will have additional benefits.
"Other reasons are for students to be resourceful, to have a good work ethic and to learn new skills," Moritz said.
Moritz, a native of Hays and 2015 alumnus of Fort Hays State University, said one of his favorite hangouts when he lived at home was his dad’s workshop.
"I’ve always been interested in renovating," Moritz said.
He taught wood shop classes at Stafford High School before he and wife, Kylie, moved to St. John four years ago when he accepted the SJHS post.