Livingston County high schoolers learn trade skills by building tiny houses

Nathan Law

Note: Todd Millspaugh is instructor of the Howell Construction Trades Program. A previous version of this story misspelled his name. Brighton senior James Linske said he never liked traditional high school classes such as history and math. He prefers hands-on work.   That’s why the Howell Construction Trades Program, a class […]

Note: Todd Millspaugh is instructor of the Howell Construction Trades Program. A previous version of this story misspelled his name.

Brighton senior James Linske said he never liked traditional high school classes such as history and math. He prefers hands-on work. 

 That’s why the Howell Construction Trades Program, a class at Howell High School that enlists students to build a house from the foundation to the roof shingles, was perfect fit for him.

He was among 70 students in the class, which is based in Howell but accepts students from nearby schools through a partnership with the Livingston Educational Services Agency.

“I didn’t even know about this class until the last minute,” Linske said. “I signed up, and it saved my life. I definitely would not have graduated without this class.”

High school students and their families view their completed tiny houses at Parker Middle School in Marion Township on June 10, 2021.

Todd Millspaugh, a licensed builder and the program’s instructor, said over the past few years he and his students have constructed a 2,000 square-foot house with three bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a three-car garage. They also pave the driveway, install irrigation systems and finish the landscaping.

“I want people, when they see it, to be amazed that students did it,” Millspaugh said. Millspaugh said the house his class built last year sold in five hours for $400,000.

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