Raising the Roof: Tri Star Students Build Mock Roofs For Project

With Ryan Schmakers (right) of Cotterman Consrtuction looking on, New Bremen senior and Tri Star construction student Grant Selby uses a heat gun to weld a plastic membrane on a mock roof Selby and his classmates created this week. The project was a partnership between Tri Star and Cotterman Construction Co.
Staff Writer

Career tech programs are designed to give students a chance to see what a potential career can give them. This past week, Tri Star Career Compact and Cotterman Construction Co. teamed up to show juniors and seniors what opportunities are available in the world of industrial roofing.

Employees from Cotterman — the same company who put the roof on the new Tri Star 2.0 building — came to the construction technologies classroom on the back of Celina High School to help the students build their own mock roofs from scratch.

"They did it all," construction teacher Brett McGillvary said.

Jon Plattner with the business development and recruiting arm of Cotterman, was McGillvary's partner on the project. He not only purchased and donated all of the necessary supplies but he also worked to get some of the company's employees to donate their time to help educate the next generation of construction workers. Plattner, a Tri Star alumnus, said it is important for students to see the variety of options available to them once they graduate. He highlighted that some kids didn't know everything that is available even just in roofing.

"We're excited to show them that there's a lot of good opportunities out there in the construction industry," he said. "I think a lot of them didn't realize that this is what we do. They think roofing is climbing up on a roof and putting up shingles, they don't think it's like this."

"This," involves putting metal sheeting on, using heat welders to put plastic coatings on the roofs, attaching gutters and ensuring there are no gaps in the covering that could end up leaking.

McGillvary noted how students are more attractive to potential employers now because of the experience they gained this week by building actual roofs. Even just one year of experience can make a student more valuable in the eyes of an employer because it saves some time in training since the student already has an idea of what they are getting in to.

"It's high demand and it's good paying," Mcgillvary said.

That high demand is trickling down into Tri Star's construction program. McGillvary said he currently has 15 juniors and 11 seniors taking his class. Next year, he has 22 new juniors signed up for the class in addition to the 15 returning students.

In addition to projects such as the roofing project, construction students build a home in the city of Celina every year. This year's home is a three-bedroom house that also includes a basement and is slated to be auctioned in June.