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Students from the Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management build a tiny house on May 5 that will house people experiencing homelessness in Denver. Photo: Courtesy of RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post

The third time was the charm for students at the Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management. After two weather delays, Mother Nature finally cooperated on May 5, enabling the students to put what they’ve learned in the classroom to the test by building a tiny house on DU’s Carnegie Green. Following a brief tour at upcoming events, the 8’ x 12’ structure will be donated to the Colorado Village Collaborative, which is building a village of tiny homes in Denver’s River North neighborhood to house people experiencing homelessness.

“There are a lot of folks in this city who need a place to live,” said Nathan Hunt, one of the forces behind the Colorado Village Collaborative, who thanked DU, the Burns School and the students for their labor. “Sixty thousand people are cost-burdened in Denver. Thirty-five thousand home owners are cost-burdened. There are 5,300 people living on our streets in Denver. A lot of those people would love to live in something just like this. Someone who is sleeping in an alley right now is going to be living inside this someday, and I cannot celebrate you or thank you enough.”

This is the fourth year Burns students have built projects on campus. In previous years, they constructed full-size playhouses and donated them to families in need associated with Children’s Hospital and Wounded Warriors.

“It’s really rewarding, and is a great way to learn more about the construction process,” said Real Estate and the Built Environment major Corie Fraker, who will graduate in June and who helped build a playhouse last year. “The most important thing we can learn from this experience is teamwork because it’s always about how we can work efficiently to create the end product, and do it well. Experiences like this make you not afraid to go out and try new things, especially in the real estate industry. Adding to your skill set is really what it’s all about.”

Using a crane donated by Pro Lift Crane service, students worked in two-hour shifts over the course of the day to build the frame for the tiny home. They will complete construction this summer to make the house fully livable.

Initially, the structure will go on tour, first to the 2017 National Tiny House Jamboree at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Following that event, the house will move to Peña Station near Denver International Airport for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon event. Finally, the Burns School will donate the structure to the Colorado Village Collaborative.

“Up to this point, classroom education is theoretical,” said Eric Holt, Burns School assistant professor. “Experiences like this allow students to do actual construction from the ground up, as well as tool training, safety training, and crane lifting and signaling. They experience the hands-on practical application, in addition getting the business and real estate education on how to manage the entire process.”