Student Outreach at West Career and Technical Academy

Posted on — By Michael Schwob

One of the goals of UNLV’s US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 team is to emphasize community outreach and involvement. To achieve this, they have created a student outreach program. The intention of the program is to involve local high school students in the construction and design/ development processes of UNLV’s US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 build.

The first project conducted by the student outreach program was the construction of a wood-framed wall mock-up, used to test and display electrical components that will be included into the 2017 house entry. Anthony Tully, the organizer of the events, and several other team members have been meeting with West Career and Technical Academy students over the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters to get them involved with building this wall.

The purpose of this outreach project was to teach local high school students the basics of framing and residential construction. The wall was roughly eight feet tall and framed identically to the standard wood construction that will be implemented in the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 house. The design had three legs attached to the rear for stability. A rough door opening large enough for a thirty-inch, pre-hung door is included in the design to emphasize the structural importance of a header. The pre-hung door assembly was installed by the students, as well as drywall sheets and single gang junction boxes to replicate the actual finish carpentry that goes into a standard residential building. There was no drywall installed on the rear of the wall, and no insulation or wiring was done by the students; however, a lesson was given on residential electrical wiring. In the future, the UNLV team plans on providing 3D printing tutorials for WCTA students as well as more construction projects before the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 competition in early October.

As a result of the collaboration between UNLV and West Career and Technical Academy, several WCTA students were able to get a hands-on understanding of construction, which will improve their understanding of architectural design and the production of design documents for one of their classes. The students were able to communicate the design digitally using a building information management (BIM) software called Revit. This is an industry standard architectural design software that is being used by UNLV students to design the Solar Decathlon house.

UNLV’s US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 team hopes to expand the student outreach program with more student builds and presentations at multiple schools across the Las Vegas valley. Building and presenting the design and construction aspects of the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 house assists students in understanding the scopes and specifications that come with jobs in the construction management, architecture, and engineering fields.

UNLV’s US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 team participants in wall construction:

  • Anthony Tully, organizer
  • Ashna Ayub
  • Adam Betemedhin
  • Brenda Tena
  • Nasko Balakchiev
  • Veronica McKinney
  • Kevin Duong-Tran
  • Kalewalani Bancaco
  • Dylan Cabico
  • Alexis Lawson
  • Sadie Stutzman

WCTA student participants in wall construction:

  • Samahir Ahmed
  • Genaro Alexis Marcial-Lorza
  • Brondon Huynh
  • Amanda McKiernan
  • Nebyu Haile
  • Dagmawi Haile
  • Eddie Arias