K-Christian starts Building Classes

By Michelle Miron, Kalamazoo Gazette 10/25/2006

A new building-trades program at Kalamazoo Christian High School is introducing students to construction careers.

Principal Tom Kamp said 13 juniors and seniors are enrolled in this year’s program, which is taught by volunteer employees and subcontractors working for Visser Construction Inc., of Oshtemo Township. The students are required to spend two hours of school time and at least 30 minutes of before- or after-school time each weekday learning the details of constructing a townhouse in the West Port Village condominium plat on West H Avenue.

“This is helping kids see that they have a talent, ability or calling in life, and some are going to find a vocation through this program,” Kamp said.

He said results of the program, which may be offered every other year, will be evaluated at the end of the school year. Before this year, Kalamazoo Christian students could take construction classes through the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency’s Construction Trades Program, an Education for Employment offering that Kamp said requires a high level of coordination of class hours and transportation because it’s primarily held in Schoolcraft.

Visser Construction owner Steve Visser, a builder for more than 35 years, said he wishes a similar program had been available during his own high school years.

“I would like this class to be available for my grandkids as they come through the Christian schools,” he said. “I received a great education in the school system and wanted to give back to the schools, using my strengths for the school’s benefit. There is nothing better than learning hands-on.”