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Building house allows N. M. students put new skills to test.

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) -- It's a modest home on a dusty plot of land, but to Central New Mexico Community College student Frank Nieto, it may as well be a mansion in an exclusive subdivision.

"We did the flaming on the house," Nieto said, explaining that he and his classmates also installed the roof, doors, windows and drywall on the four-bedroom, two-bath house.

"It's the first house I've built," he said, beaming with pride as he congratulated the new owner of the Habitat for Humanity house.

For Sandra Bustillos and her four children who recently moved into the house, thank you didn't quite seem to express the gratitude they felt toward CNM and Habitat for Humanity.

"They made my dream come true," she said. There's no words for me to say thanks."

Bustillos said she and her kids--ages 3, 5, 10 and 13--lived with her parents. She's excited to have her own bedroom for privacy and her own kitchen.

"Now I get to cook what I want," she said.

It wasn't the first Habitat house that CNM faculty and students pitched in on, but it was the first that CNM students built from start to finish.

The work was part of their lab experience in classes such as carpentry, plumbing, electrical, truck driving, landscaping and heating and air conditioning. They put in nearly 1,500 hours over two semesters.

"What's good about it is it's inspected by city or county inspectors," said Alain Archuleta, CNM electrical instructor. "So not only is it graded from me, they have to do quality work, and they are inspected. Their grade is based on that."

Archuleta said they also learned time management, team building and serving the community through the Skills USA Program.

CNM student Antonio Gutierrez said he ran all the outside lights on Bustillos' house.

"For us it's a grade," Gutierrez said. "But at the same time, it's on-the-job experience, and we are doing a good deed."

Andrew Gomez, director of construction for the Greater Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity, said CNM instructors and students did about 90 percent of the house.

Kevin Cronk, chief executive officer of the organization, said would like to see the collaboration with CNM continue. His chapter has built 145 homes.

"If our vision is changing lives and building communities, what better example of that than what we're doing here?" said CNM President Katharine Winograd.

While CNM and Habitat for Humanity like working together, coordinating their schedules takes some work.

"We're trying to teach, which takes a little bit longer, and Habitat for Humanity wants to get houses out quickly," she said. "Their ability to partner with us in a way that allows us to take a little more time so that we can use it as a teaching tool is a really special thing."

CNM student Angelo Gallegos said he worked on the house since Day One.

"It's an awesome feeling," he said.
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Title Annotation:tracking trends
Publication:Community College Week
Date:Jul 14, 2008
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