Five students head to Las Vegas


Williamsport’s Career and Technical Education students and staff have earned significant recognition throughout the region and the state over the years. In February, members of the construction program will attempt to bring national recognition to both the school and the CTE program.

Members of the level three and four construction classes qualified for the NAHB Student Chapters Residential Construction Management Competition (RCMC), which will be held in Las Vegas on Feb. 3, 2014.

This program is a branch of the annual International Builders’ Show. The competition offers students real-life application in the field of construction. Williamsport Area High School will be represented by juniors Justin Niklaus and Noah Espisito and seniors Danny Hollingsworth, Marc Mcclain and Collin McCoy.

The competition will be held in the Las Vegas Hotel this year as the venue for the event must be big enough to accommodate a full-size house. The competition itself consists of two phases.

The first phase involves designing a home from start to finish according to specifications outlined by the judging committee. The second phase is the presentation of their proposal and project.

The students already have logged many hours in the designing process, and report that this experience is quite different from most aspects of the construction program because they “spend most of their time sitting around a table or a computer instead of doing hands-on work.

“Our task is to build a house from the ground up according to a set of exact specifications and within a specific budget,” Randy Williamson explained.

For this year’s competition, the theoretical home will be built in Buckeye, Ariz. This means that the students are responsible for learning all of the building codes for the region, interacting with real businesses in the Buckeye area to create a labor and materials estimate as well as a construction schedule and learning about the geography of Arizona in order to ensure their home is functional for that region.

“Additionally, the students have to use a design program to create a working set of drawings for their house. It is a very time-consuming process,” Niklaus said. “I spend every spare minute I have in Mr. Williamson’s room.”

“The kids even put in time on their days off,” Williamson said. “I am really proud of them.”

If this was not complicated enough, at some point between now and February, the committee will contact all participants in the competition to inform them that their budget has been cut unexpectedly by a certain percentage.

At that point, “we will have to review the design and the budget to determine where we can most effectively make cuts while still producing the highest quality product,” Williamson explained.

The second phase of the competition, which takes place at the Las Vegas convention, involves the presentation of their project.

Each team is responsible for making a management proposal to an actual construction company.

The students are responsible for defending all aspects of their proposal, including their decisions for the budgetary cuts, to an audience of more than three hundred people and a panel of executives from the field who serve as the judges for the competition.