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North Hills Monthly

Hampton Students Team Up to Design Tiny House

May 31, 2016 12:31PM ● By Erica Cebzanov

Ten Hampton high schoolers are constructing an approximately 5’x8’ tiny house through the school’s enrichment program, which brings together gifted students and those with passions in particular subject areas.

Enrichment facilitator Scott Stickney developed the idea for the structure while attending a project-based learning workshop and found a feasible design in Derek Diedricksen’s Microshelters: 59 Creative Cabins, Tiny Houses, Tree Houses, and Other Small Structures. He hopes the construction is completed by the school year’s end and might auction the house to fund future projects.

“When the students showed an interest, I showed them the plans and told them they could alter them in any way. So, they went back to the drawing board and made some adjustments and came up with some ideas that they wanted to do,” said Stickney, who works with the students on the undertaking during their free periods.

“Everybody knows that all of the time they are putting in is extra time. They all know that no one is getting a grade for it. It’s one of those things—they are all doing it because they want to do it,” said Stickney.

Junior Teddy Breedlove, co-project leader, assisted with the computer-aided design. “It was fun—creating something from nothing. You’re given a set of constraints, and you work within them to create something that hasn’t been created before,” he said. 

The group envisions the house as a “sort of getaway, maybe out in the woods,” according to Stickney. Cost constraints made full heating and plumbing systems unattainable, but the finished product will have partial insulation and possibly a portable toilet inside a pop-up tent. A solar-powered generator will provide electricity. The students are still deciding between using propane or gel fuel as a heat source. 

In order to utilize the space, many elements are multifunctional:  House guests can heat a pressurized water system on a propane burner for an outdoor shower or hook it to an indoor sink for other purposes. A hammock can provide both indoor and outdoor sleeping areas. 

The students worked to build an eco-friendly arrangement. Construction Junction, a nonprofit store promoting conservation through the sale of donated construction supplies, contributed provisions. “Construction Junction is basically a large recycling bin. I think people just want to be more eco-friendly and give back to the community and their ecosystem,” said junior Kevin Bott. 

Kameron Bott, also a junior, added that many items have uses beyond their intended purposes.

PPG Industries donated $1,000 and the Hampton High School Parent-Faculty Association donated $500 toward the project. Co-project leader Phil Margaria, a senior, was instrumental in securing a $500 Sprout Fund grant by assisting with grant writing and handling a meeting with an agency executive. 

Stickney said the students have employed problem-solving skills throughout the assignment. Their initial plans included a bathroom with a composting toilet; however, they soon realized the privacy wall would limit space. They also had to modify their design to accommodate a set of lockers that the school donated for use as storage space. “Things always look good on paper, but once you do them in real life, you kind of have to make adjustments to make things work,” said sophomore Nick Bello. 

Margaria also highlighted the importance of teamwork during the endeavor. “It’s usually not one person’s idea that’s the best,” he said. “It’s usually a combination of several people’s ideas that are the best.

“Seeing this, we realize that we don’t actually need that much space to live,” added Margaria, who will study mechanical engineering at the University of Akron in the fall.

In response, Bello joked: “Just wait–you’re going to college and living in a dorm room!”