It turns out I'm a huge control freak (which is no surprise to anyone who knows me), so this project has been a real lesson for me. I've had to learn to let go, to accept things on other people's schedules, to trust in the gods!
Should anyone else decide they want to do a school build, make sure the board appoves it, not just your own school. It will save you a world of trouble and anxiety.
As well, Ontario schools are allowed to have students install electrical wiring under the tutelage of their teacher, but otherwise, only electrical contracters can do it. A retired electrician cannot do it. I'm not totally sure why this is, but I think it has something to do with trying to shut down underground economies. In any case, anything electrical must be inspected before it can be hooked up to the grid.
Any solar over 12 volts must also be inspected according to our school board;s safety guy. Ontario seems to have extreme safety rules, so make sure you check things out.
Propane must be installed by a trained propane installer. Even though my friend who does construction says it is one of the easier jobs, you're not allowed to do this in Ontario. Safety first, I guess. I suppose it makes sense too, since you don't want propane leaking or anyone blowing up. Hire your electricians and plumbers. It is easier.
I was happiest in this process when I was doing something active towards the completion of my tiny house. Finishing the floors was my job. The students installed it, then did a sanding, and I applied the finish. It was a long process – four coats (and sanding between each coat) later and it was almost done. This was fun and there was much advice from my head custodian. I have to admit, taking his advice for the last coat made a big difference. We'll have to do a final coat or too after the rest of the interior is done because the floor has gotten pretty banged up despite the students' reminders to take off your shoes when you go inside. I think I'll cover the floor with a tarp while we finish things off for a little bit more protection.
A high school wood shop/construction class is an interesting place. I had an idyllic vision of hardworking students all happily busy at a task. Well, duh, why would this class be any different than anything in life? Some people worked, some people didn't. Some worked really hard all the time, and others worked reluctantly or with much prodding. The wood shop is a microcosm of life, I guess.
Classes are only an hour long, add in lates, cleanup, packing up and other interruptions, and it is seldom you'll get a full hour of work from anyone. Throw in the occasional assembly day schedule which means all classes are shortened or a "SpringFun Day" for the whole school, and the project grinds to a halt for a few days.
Framing both the floor and walls was rather quick and involved a lot of bodies so that worked well in the shop.
Obviously a lot of work happened before we started doing interiors, so I thought it best to show a few of those photos. Before you can even start working on the floors, metal side rails have to be removed and ground smooth. Insulating the floor boards is a necessity and you've got to lay a subfloor.