Monday, July 16th, 2018

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Students build dog houses to raise funds for Cleveland APL


For some, being in the dog house would be a bad thing. But, the residents of seven glamour dog houses custom made by students from the Lorain County Join Vocational School will enjoy almost palatial living.

The dog house project was commissioned by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), with proceeds going to the Cleveland Animal Protective League. The dog houses were displayed at the 2014 NARA Home Improvement Show at the I-X Center. During the four-day show, attendees bid on the dog houses to raise funds for the APL.

A total of 34 students, including 21 juniors and 13 seniors, started building the dog houses when they returned from their holiday break in January. All were instructed to build a basic wood structure finished with cedar, aluminum or vinyl for the sides and asphalt shingles on the roof. Their instructor was Ron Gresco, a former home builder in Lorain. Gresco said the project was part of the new NARI Mentorship Program designed to get students involved in home remodeling and general construction.

“We were contacted by NARI in mid-fall of 2013 and asked to do a fund raiser with them to benefit the APL in the Cleveland area. The glamour dog houses seemed to be a good fit,” Gresco said. “NARI secured their donations of building materials and we were given 10 days after winter break. That seemed like it would be perfect, but with three calamity days and two days of mid-term testing, we found ourselves under pressure.”

“My students are terrific in the sense that they will never let you down and always seem to rise to the challenge,” he added. “The senior mid-term was actually calculating, interpretation of the print, layout and construction of the windows for some of the dog houses. These types of projects are very inviting for our carpentry program and students as they end up being a win for all involved.”

“There was a fair amount of geometry and trigonometry, along with basic math skills to calculate the angles involved to complete the building process,” Gresco explained. “The selection of material was broad-based, as we wanted to make each dog house unique and desirable for all tastes. The great thing about that is the students also had an opportunity to work with some non-traditional material which seldom comes our way.” The students built the dog houses in several styles, including traditional, gazebo-style pentagon, salt box, dormer, schoolhouse with a raised gable roof and a six-sided lighthouse with a solar light on top.

“We were told to build the dog houses for the average size dog and the main requirement was that the finished product must fit in the back of a pickup truck,” he said. “We added the wow factor so that people would want one of these in their backyard. I’m also confident the dog will enjoy his or her new home.”

“The NARI Mentorship Program is all about building relationships now so that students can get a job right out of high school,” Kathy Masterson, executive director of the Greater Cleveland NARI said. “It’s a win-win situation. The students learned a great deal about construction, seven people ended up with some incredibly good looking dog houses and the APL received some much needed funds to keep them going.”DogHouse6

A six-sided lighthouse with a solar light on top was one of the seven student-built houses.

A six-sided lighthouse with a solar light on top was one of the seven student-built houses.

All of the dog houses were basic wood structures with cedar, aluminum or vinyl for sides

All of the dog houses were basic wood structures with cedar, aluminum or vinyl for sides


Photos by Eric Eakin

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