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Drafting a dream house

January 18, 2011

There's no housing crisis for Newton-Conover High School students, who constructed elaborately designed models of their dream homes for drafting class.

On Monday, students in Susan Ramsey's drafting III class completed and presented their semester-long projects, which were three-story home models designed on blueprints and crafted from wood, glue and foam board.

"When (students) finally put that thing together, it's a sense of pride, on my part," Ramsey said.

That's because the project is more than simply gluing wooden sticks together. Students applied drafting principles, including stability, design and appearance, which they learned in their two previous drafting classes.

After drafting building plans a few months into the school year, students set out to craft their dream homes. Ramsey said students measured and cut each individual piece of wood for the model homes, down to tiny steps on staircases.

"These houses look like what a real framed house would look like," Ramsey said. "Every stud is where it would have to be."

Students infused their own personalities into their home designs, making the final product as diverse as the students.

Junior Elena Swink created a sprawling Beverly Hills-style mansion, complete with a cinema on the top floor.

Swink based the design on a house her father created, and she added to the plans based on her idea of the perfect house.

"I really love movies, so (the cinema) was something I really wanted," she said.

Swink also designed a vaulted ceiling in the home, which is perfect for a grand Christmas tree, she said.

The house is designed with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, an office and a children's playroom that can be accessed from practically any room on the main level.

Ramsey met with students on a weekly basis throughout the semester to gauge their progress and offer feedback during the design process.

Students also received tips and pointers from each other.

"It's great knowing that I can come back and make something better," said drafting student Addison Klutz, a NCHS junior. "It just shows me how bland my first story (house) was."

Klutz and Swink were part of the three-member drafting III class that met during the same time as another of Ramsey's lower-level drafting classes.

"By the time you get to drafting III, students consider it something they're really interested in," Ramsey said. "It's an honors class, so you have to go above and beyond to earn that honors credit."

Both drafting III students said their time in the class made them consider drafting, architecture or building design as a potential career.

"I really realized that this is something I possibly want to study," Klutz said. "I liked being able to decide this was something I really wanted to do."

Swink, too, is considering making drafting into a career.

"It's something I'm looking into," she said. "I'm keeping my options open."

Students didn't calculate the building costs associated with their homes, and it's probably a good thing. Because with three stories, multiple bedrooms and an in-house cinema, students will probably have to wait a few years to make their dream homes a reality.

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