Students learn skills for the Battle of the Build competition | WJHL

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — The battle is on! Students from across northeast Tennessee are putting the finishing touches on their projects as they prepare for the Johnson City Area Home Builders Association’s 5th Annual Eastman Credit Union Battle of the Build Competition.

Students are challenged to build an outdoor-themed project that can fit through a 5-by-7-foot door, assembled or in pieces. What they build to these standards is theirs.

Science Hill Career and Technical Education School students are working on a playhouse, with many features.

“We’re building a deck with a playhouse on it,” said Sean Bryant, a senior at Science Hill CTE. “They’re separated right now, but when we get there they’ll all be together as one. The bridge is going to have a sandbox underneath…we’ll have lights going through it too.

Bryant said he and his classmates chose to build a playhouse for resale value. They have been working on their project for a week, averaging about four hours of work per day.

“They’re in class for an hour and a half every day, but these guys put in the extra time; many of them stayed after hours,” said Rich Murray, a professor of construction and mechanics, electrical and plumbing at Science Hill CTE.

The competition provides an opportunity to network with other students and industry professionals.

“We try to match schools with sponsors, who are entrepreneurs or mentors, usually members of the association,” said David Isaacs, president of Battle of the Build. “The idea is to create these partnerships so the kids can see that you can finally have a career in the trades.”

The projects will be auctioned and the schools will use the funds for future competitions and trips.

“This fundraising money allows us to compete in state competitions for SkillsUSA,” said Robert Tester, Science Hill CTE Instructor in Construction Technology. “These projects are also auctioned off. So that’s part of fundraising.

It’s a lot of work, but for these students, there’s a lot of fun in the tradition.

“They are some of my best friends, and they have been for a long time,” said Cade Fleeman, a senior at Science Hill CTE. “So it’s fun to work with your friends.”

Students from 10 schools will compete at the Northeast State Community College Technical Education Complex on Saturday, April 23.

The public can attend the competition this Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. They are invited to discover the projects, vote for their favorites and even buy handmade products.

Science Hill recently competed in the SkillsUSA State Competition in Chatanooga and won the gold medal at TeamWorks. Fleeman, Evan Jones, Karter Richmond and Alberto Vidales made up the team. All four now qualify for the national SkillsUSA competition to be held in Atlanta in June.

Bryant came in 5th in carpentry. He already got a full-time job in his trade after graduation.