Tag Archives: Construction

You CAN DO Home Repair, and Parkland Can Help

For all you women out there (and perhaps a few men) who feel you can’t perform DIY home repair outside of changing a lightbulb, I want to encourage you: You CAN DO it.

I took a plumbing course at Parkland College in 2006 and have saved hundreds of dollars in potential (read: unnecessary) plumbing repairs ever since. It wasn’t easy being the only female (or 40+ year old) in that two-hour evening class. I surely earned the “Most Worn Out” award from cutting, reaming, and soldering pipe after a full day’s work! But I hung in there, learned a lot, and smiled all the way to my A grade. In the end, it was worth it, because that one class has made all the difference in my confidence about home repair.

Ruthie1Since taking the class, I have not only changed supply lines and valves on my home toilets myself, but I’ve also been able to confidently say “no thanks” to plumbers who’ve suggested that I replace entire faucet units when all that was needed to fix the leak was a new washer or packing. Yes, I said plumbers; this has happened more than once over the decade. Such triumphs encouraged me to buy a really good home repair book. I have since fixed non-plumbing-related areas of my home, too, including replacing the springs and cables on my garage door, buying and installing new insulation, and laying flooring.

Now, that’s pretty good savings from a one-semester, affordable class with a schedule that was flexible enough for a young working mother of two.

Look, ladies, if I could do this—someone who doesn’t do physical labor, nature, or bugs all that well—you certainly can. Sign up for Plumbing (CIT 114) or other Building Construction and Repair certificate courses at Parkland, and you won’t be disappointed. If you can’t take a Parkland class, then at least buy yourself (and read) a good home repair guide. You’ll be surprised at just how handy you really are.

Hmm…now that my kids are officially grown-ups, I think it’s time to get more Parkland construction classes under my belt. Perhaps I’ll take Construction Materials (CIT 111) or Rough Carpentry (CIT 115) next.

I bet my husband’s nervous just reading this. He should be. 😉

[Ruthie Counter is a full-time staff writer and part-time communication instructor at Parkland College.]

The Parkland Shed

Completed sheds in the lab
Completed sheds in the lab

I moved into a new house last year, and it quickly became apparent that I could use a shed.  After asking around about where to get a shed, I decided to purchase one from Parkland College.  Everyone had nothing but good things to say about them.

The sheds are built as part of the CIT 115 course with Greg Walburg. The course is part of Construction Design and Management, Construction Design and Management: Contracting, and the Building Construction and Repair programs.

Sheds under construction
Sheds under construction
For sale sign on Mattis
For sale sign on Mattis
Parkland Shed Installed
Parkland Shed Installed

CIT Instructor: Dustin Stuart graduated with honors from Parkland in May 2014 with a degree in Construction Design and Management: Contracting. He is currently working for a remodeling contractor here in CU and is also a Teacher’s Assistant at Parkland for CIT 115.  I asked him about his experience in the course and if he had any advice for students thinking about going into one of the Construction programs at Parkland College.  This is what he told me:

“It was two years ago this semester that I started my program and CIT 115 was my favorite class that semester. I had previous knowledge of contracting work, but this class helped greatly in turning me into a professional. The most valuable lessons I learned from this class was how to read and interpret construction plans, teamwork, and project management.

In CIT 115, you get to experience home building basics in a comfortable lab environment with plenty of tools at your disposal. This is a dream vacation in comparison to getting your education on the roof of a house on a 90 degree day in July. In addition to the excellent lab space you have experienced teachers and students to help guide you along.

The only advice I could offer new students considering this degree is to just do it! Todd Horton and Greg Walburg are excellent teachers that care a lot about their students and their success. Every time I walked into one of their offices to ask about homework, a project, or even personal advice they always took the time to speak with me. You meet a lot of excellent students as well in this program. I still keep in touch both personally and professionally with most of my class mates. In addition to being a great program, Parkland is an excellent school. They have so many programs in place to help you succeed and a staff and faculty that are top notch.”

Learn about enrolling at Parkland College during the College Open House Friday, November 7.

If you’re interested in getting a shed for your yard, contact Greg Walburg at 373-3784 or gwalburg@parkland.edu.