A classroom of construction

Sean Helms went up and down a ladder, working with fellow Marshalltown Community College student Jesse Holder who was on a catwalk above the ceiling pounding in nails.

This isn’t the typical college classroom – but there is plenty of learning going on.

The residential construction technology class at MCC is at it again, this school year building a 1,500-square-foot garage addition at the Jan and Walt Wilkinson farm home just west of Marshalltown.

“I’m having a blast,” Helms said. “I’ve just always loved doing stuff like this.”

Each year the class takes on a building project led by faculty member Russ Yarrow, and typically they build a home. This year the project is a garage addition on the 1900 home.

Students helped pour the foundation, install concrete flooring and a driveway and have done the framing and put up the steel roof. They have been working on the interior of the structure lately and next week will hang dry wall.

“It’s gone fairly well,” Yarrow said.

There is also another wrinkle in this year’s work – remodeling. The class will tackle remodeling the kitchen and replacing windows in the home this spring.

“That’s kind of a neat aspect of it,” Yarrow said. “This is the perfect project for somebody who wants to learn how to ‘flip’ a house.”

The homeowners provide the materials and save money on labor costs by utilizing the student work. Walt Wilkinson has enjoyed having the students work on the project, and he can be seen helping out regularly as well.

“They’ve been fun to work with,” Wilkinson said. “Russ is a really good teacher.”

Yarrow expects the project to be completed in April, and an open house will be held the day of MCC’s graduation, which is May 10 . The project is located at 1935 Main Street Road in rural Marshalltown.