STC Students Build Accessibility Home in Rural Hidalgo County
STC construction supervision student Luciano Izaguirre measures the length of the ceiling for the new home of the Gonzalez family Wednesday, March 9, 2022.
Fourteen STC students from the Construction Supervision program were all-hands-on deck Wednesday morning building what would be the new home for Mr. Pedro and Mrs. Artemiza Gonzalez, a family of eight currently living in a mobile trailer running on propane.
STC’s Construction Supervision program and the non-profit organization, Mi Casita, made this project possible with the focus of education and community said Marco Cordova, executive director of Border Issues of Texas Agents.
The Border Issues of Texas Agents Inc. helps improve the lives of families living near the U.S. / Mexico border community by conducting independent social research with practitioners and policy makers.
“About six to seven years they’ve been living in there,” said Cordova. “You can’t compare with that home over there to this,” he said pointing to the new home under construction.
STC students added insulation and drywall to the new home and a paint job.
“It’s a good experience for me,” said first-year construction student Luciano Izaguirre.” I’ve done a lot of commercial projects in the past but nothing residential so, I am just trying to learn as much as I can.”
Mi Casita’s mission is to provide accessible homes in the colonias of Hidalgo County.
“Our focus is to give low-income families access to homes,” said Cordova. “We’ve had two years where we try to give as much as we can and to work with the construction department of South Texas College.”
Two Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible (ADA) homes have been built through Mi Casita’s Affordable Housing Project and gifted to disabled individuals.
“About 98% of the houses designed with us are modified for future needs which include disabled individuals,” said Cardova. “We build ADA-compliant bathrooms for the space families are needing in the future to prevent further expenses in modifications.”
Construction Supervision Program Chair Jose Vela shares that STC Alumni Mario Gonzalez designed and drafted the first affordable housing subdivision whereas Jason Betancourt helped draft the family’s new home.
“They are a product of STC. Gonzalez has continued his education with UTRGV’s College of Engineering & Computer Science and Betancourt has a successful construction career in Houston,” said Vela.
Both alumni graduated with their Associate of Construction Supervision of Applied Science.
The program prepares students for supervision and management careers related to various aspects of residential, commercial and institutional construction projects. Graduates of the program can receive their certificate or associate degrees which can lead them to entry-level positions as an assistant construction superintendent, junior estimator, program manager, or general contractor for property owners, developers, or construction management firms.
“We see the students take these projects to heart and these are experiences that last for them when they move on,” said Vela.
In the past, students have worked with Habitat for Humanity to build accessible homes for disabled members.
The home will feature a living space, three bedrooms and two ADA bathrooms.
“We show students how to do these types of residential projects to give them a sense of community service applying the theories they learn in class,” said Construction Supervision Instructor Israel Medrano. “We’ve seen a lot of students be successful because of their training at STC and our outings.”
The Gonzalez’s home is expected to be completed in Summer 2022 and they are very thankful for STC students, instructors and the Mi Casita project.
For more information about STC’s Construction Supervision program visit, https://www.southtexascollege.edu/academics/construction/