Case Study #3 – Hutchinson, Minnesota High School

Hutchinson Minnesota Public Schools (ISD 423)

Since 2016,  students at Hutchinson Minnesota High School have been building “tiny houses.”  The following describes information was gathered during an October 2023 visit.

What background/work experience prepared you to teach/run this program?


Daryl Lundin:  “Part of my background is growing up in a family of carpenters. My dad and brother had a construction company for 30 years.  I worked with them on construction projects during the summer 2001-2008.  I decided that did not want to work outside in the cold during the winter. So, I earned a teaching degree.

I brought up the idea of building tiny houses to our Superintendent.  He liked the idea.  The city of Hutchinson Economic Development Administration really like the idea too.   Superintendent said 0k.  They raised $1.5 million to buy initial tools and supplies. We began in 2016.”


Andrea Moore: Moore is in her sixth year of serving as Tiger Path Coordinator for the district.  The district uses the Minnesota Department of Education career cluster. Hutchinson focuses on 4 pathways, A key part of Moore’s job is identifying and developing partnerships between the school and local businesses and community agencies.  Four of the years that Andrea has been in this position, a large part of her salary was paid for by a Mn Department of Labor and Industry Youth Skills Training Grant. One year the district paid her entire salary with no funding from specific grants. Then Glencoe-Silver Lake Public Schools applied for the ANI grant, and named Hutchinson as a partner. This currently is paying her salary.


This display faces the Hutchinson High School cafeteria.  The school has

made promoting a variety of career clusters a high priority.


Suggestions from Andrea:

  1. Hire a member of the community. She has lived I the area for 55 years; She graduated from here, my kids graduated from here.
  • Have been a teacher or have a teaching license – more from buy in from teachers, come to sub or teach soft skills.
  • Include teachers from the beginning – show how it’s going to benefit.
  • It can’t be always about the bottom dollar.  Someone will buy the home eventually. We have heard that some districts focus explicitly on bottom line, financially.  This is not our approach.


Interior and Exterior of House recently completed and offered for sale as of October, 2023


  • Can you please give examples of partnerships that have helped make the homes Hutchinson students construct better? See picture on wall – 3 M is big contribution. This is a manufacturing town – big need right now is for employees.  Pretty easy to convince them.  They saw a lot of kids leaving town.  The home-building and other career pathways help keep students in town.


What advice would you give to other people considering creating a program to teach construction skills as they build for low-income families?

Lundin reports: “I like to do things differently. Expect that some things won’t go as expected such as supply chain issues. Don’t give up.  Having Andrea with Tiger Paths is a great help.  Money from state YST grant helps.  She has helped make community connections.  As a teacher I would never have time to make connections.

What that you’ve done would you strongly encourage others to do?

Lundin suggests: “Research your plan/dream to figure out how to do.  I would spend four hours a night on the internet reading about what problems people ran into as they constructed tiny homes.  We try to be proactive, not reactive.    Teachers need to do their homework.

Also, if possible, have someone like Andrea whose full-time job is to develop and nurture local community connections.”


Are there any mistakes or unexpected negative outcomes that, if possible, people should avoid?  Lundin explained that ” The first time we built a house, the Hutchinson City Inspector asked why I haven’t pulled a permit.  The answer is that the house was on wheels. The teacher needs to be aware of local laws rebuilding a tiny house. If you build modular, it has to be inspected.

Also, the first time we did this, we didn’t realize all windows need to be tempered glass. That’s so if the windows break as the house is being moved, there won’t be a thousand tiny pieces of glass.


Recognizing it varies from home to home, what are the approximate budgets for the homebuilding projects? The district gave me an open checkbook. Worst case costs are about $50,000.  Generally, we have been able to construct a tiny house for $27-35,000.   This is for the materials.  The district covers the teacher cost.  We sell the houses to people in the area.

Some of the previous houses built


Anything else you’d like educators/community members to know that we did not ask?

Person has to be passionate to be a teacher of this kind of class.  The teacher needs to want to share their passion.    Look for someone who has experience in carpentry but wants to work with students.    It’s a slower pace working with students, than working in commercial construction.

In terms of DOT Compliance:  So, you can take it on the road, license the house as a recreational trailer.  State of Minnesota does not have a law about inspecting tiny houses.  Unified Building Code Appendix X has “Tiny House Regulations.”

The house we’re currently building 185 square feet.  There is a class of 14 people building it. The class is called “residential construction.”

Students and house currently under construction

We haven’t decided yet whether to apply for state funds to build a tiny house for low-income people.  We are considering it.

Student Comments:

Kohle, 17 reported: “It’s an interesting class.  Hopefully I can use it in the future.  I’m looking toward engineering.  This was one of the classes that we had an option – thought I would try this”.

Kolby, 17 “I had friends in here.  I wanted to see if it is something I’m interested. I’m planning to college for engineering, or robotics. Key lessons so far:  Be safe and learning how to put things together.

Talon, 17, senior: Three of my buddies and my brother took this class when they were in high school.  I thought it would be neat to take it.  My post-high school plan is going to school to sell and buy cattle in Montana   I’ve learned a lot about teamwork and the importance of asking questions.


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