High school students construct sheds for area families

Three students building a shed posted on Thursday, October 15, 2020 in  College News

WATERLOO – A shed construction project is offering high school students the chance to show off their skills while giving back to the community.

Area high school students enrolled in the sustainable construction course through the Waterloo Career Center were tasked with designing and constructing small wooden sheds.

“We’re excited about this. For the first time we can engage with our community, not only showing off what we do but giving to the cause,” said Amy Miehe, lead teacher at the Waterloo Career Center.

Six of the sheds will then be raffled off to families that participated in their community’s National Night Out event, an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.

“Some areas don’t have large two-stall garages. This is Iowa, where you need lawnmowers and snowblowers, rakes and shovels. Everyone can use some extra storage space, especially here,” said Felicia Smith-Nalls, neighborhood services coordinator for the city of Waterloo.

Once the sheds are finished, they will be delivered to their new home to provide a secure place for families to store outdoor items on their property.

“I want my students to experience giving to the people that need it — to see the fruits of their labor,” said Wayne Lidtke, sustainable construction teacher at the career center.

Students from Don Bosco High School in Gilbertville were putting the finishing touches on a few of the sheds Tuesday afternoon.

Senior Charlie Hogan said the construction class has been a bonding experience for him and his friends who ride together from Gilbertville each weekday for the 90-minute class.

“I’m here with my buddies doing work with them,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Hogan said he hopes to one day work in residential home construction or landscaping. Either way, he said he has enjoyed learning new tricks of the trade.

At the start of the semester, Lidtke asked the class to imagine growing up without a garage or a shed to store their valuables. He then told them to imagine what it would be like to be given one.

“It’s fun to help people that don’t have as much as we do. It’s motivation to make the sheds look real nice,” Hogan said.

The Waterloo Career Center was awarded funding for the project from the MBI-WORKS Endowment as well as a large cash match and in-kind donation from Cardinal Construction. The career center, located at the north end of Central Middle School, is open to public and parochial high school students and offers hands-on instruction and college credits through Hawkeye Community College.

In the past, students have constructed projects that were later torn down and built again by another class. Litdke said he was pleased to see the projects going to benefit the community.

“They’re making someone’s life better,” he said.

By Kristin Guess, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier


  1. Career Pathways
  2. Concurrent Enrollment
  3. Sustainable Construction and Design
  4. Waterloo Career Center
  5. Waterloo Community School District
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