BCTC Student-Built House Completed - Viwinco Windows

BCTC Student-Built House Completed

BCTC Student-Built House Completed

The Berks Career and Technology Center (BCTC) provides students with defined career paths and education across a broad spectrum of building and construction trades. Students have the opportunity to not only learn the necessary skills in lab and classroom settings, but in off-campus work-based experiences as well. For the students enrolled in constructionrelated trades at BCTC’s Oley Campus, this is exemplified by their student-built house project. As a proud employer in Berks County, Pennsylvania, Viwinco is always seeking ways to get involved with the community. One way we do so is by supporting the student-built house through BCTC. 

StudentBuilt House Program 

Under the supervision and guidance of their instructors, the program teaches students how to build a house from start to finish, using a hands-on approach. Construction officially begins after the lot is secured and the floor plan is approved. Over the course of the project, various trades are incorporated, ranging from masonry and carpentry, to painting, interior design and horticulture. The project is treated as a real-life job site and provides students with invaluable experience as they move to the next stages of their careers. Graduates from the program leave BCTC prepared for employment in the construction field or may pursue specialized training through an apprenticeship and/or post-secondary education. 

Construction-Related Trades Offered at BCTC: 

  • Building Construction Occupations 
  • Cabinetry & Wood Technology 
  • Carpentry 
  • Electrical Occupations 
  • Heavy Equipment Operations 
  • HVAC % Refrigeration 
  • Horticulture 
  • Masonry 
  • Painting & Decorating 
  • Plumbing & Heating 
BCTC student built house using Viwinco windows.

2023 Student-Built House 

Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, BCTC’s Masonry instructor Michael Kern reached out to Viwinco regarding windows for the 22nd student-built house project. Statistics show an increasing shortage of skilled labor in the trades in relation to the building materials industry. Because of this, we feel strongly about providing education and training to the next generation of professionals within the home building trades. Therefore, we donated an S-Series new construction window and door package for the students to use in this project.  

Michael Kern, and Carpentry instructor Jeffrey Miller, met with us multiple times throughout the project to let us see the progress. The last time we were onsite, the drywall and brickwork had been completed and they were waiting for the horticulture department to do the landscaping. We recently returned to the property to see the finished product, aside from some minor detailing before the house was put up for sale. 

The home is roughly 2,000 square feet and features four bedrooms, three bathrooms (two full, one half), a backyard porch, a laundry/mudroom, a spacious basement and a two-car garage. The property sits on a quiet lot in close proximity to homes previously built by BCTC students. The living space and kitchen areas incorporate an open concept design which feels even more spacious, given the high vaulted ceilings. The BCTC Cabinetry students made the cabinets which match the warm natural tones found throughout the living space. Although the home is just under 2,000 square feet, the floor plan makes the most of the space, which makes the home feel even larger. 

Looking Ahead

Instructors Michael Kern and Jeffrey Miller are no strangers in regard to homebuilding. They have been instructors with BCTC’s construction program for 31 and 34 years respectively. Prior to his time with BCTC, Jeff worked as a Custom homebuilder within the area. Michael, in addition to teaching, owns a local construction firm. While meeting with Michael and Jeff, we were informed that they will be retiring from BCTC at the end of this year. Michael and Jeffrey have spent many years educating the next generation of homebuilding trades professionals within the area, and we appreciate their dedication to our industry. Although they will no longer be part of the program, they worked closely with BCTC to ensure the program continues successfully following their departure. At the start of the next school year, construction will resume on the lot across the street where the foundation has already been set. We wish Michael and Jeffrey a happy retirement and look forward to the next student-built house.