Construction Technology: A Unique Experience

Students learn by doing as they work to build a shed to be sent for use beyond City High


Alma Bhandary-Naray

Joey Dennis ’23 uses a nail gun to attach studs to a wall being built

Alma Bhandary-Narayanan, Reporter

Every day, the smell of sawdust greets Construction students as they walk into the shop. Piles of wood are scattered over the floor, and the simple wooden desks are actually tables used to practice wiring receptacles and sawing wood. 

For JJ Brown ‘23, the smell is a familiar one. After he graduates from Kirkwood Community College, he hopes to work in the trades, specifically welding and framing. Brown has been building things for “half [his] life” with Construction Technology being the second construction class he has taken.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” Brown said. “But once I found my rhythm, I could finally see my goal and move toward it.” 

For Ziggy Ford ‘24, there was a very different reason to take a construction class. 

“I thought it would be a different experience from the classes I’m already taking,” Ford said. “For the most part, I take a lot of advanced math and science classes, and those are much more paper-and-pencil, so being able to actually get my hands on something is very refreshing.” 

The “shop,” the technical name for the Construction classroom, is also very different from typical classrooms. Both Ford and Brown thought there was more going on in the shop than in typical classrooms.

“It just has more character,” Ford said.

“The shop is fun. We build sheds [and] we’re doing a lot. Measuring, nails, hammers, using the saws, and all that. It’s all fun, you just have to be safe,” Brown said.

The controlled risks of a construction class might not be for everyone. Before Mr. Byler taught construction classes, an engineer who was working under him was seriously injured by a drill. Mr. Byler emphasizes safety in the shop, and how each student needs to know each tool in detail before using it. He mandates that students wear safety glasses whenever they’re working in the shop and makes sure they know where their bodies are in relation to the tools.

Brown would recommend construction to other students, especially if it’s within their comfort zone.

“There are always opportunities to learn, and things that you can learn on the way,” Brown said.