March 19, 2010


CHS students study structure by building shed

School’s Tech Club will auction off the 8-by-10 building to raise money for the club

ShedJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland High School technology students, from front, Kelsey Faberzak, Josh Cook, Justin Worthington and Matt Burkhard stand next to a utility shed Wednesday they and other students built for their residential structure class.

Staff Reporter

A large garden shed sits in a storage room at Cortland High School, waiting to be auctioned off, an example of what some students might do as a career and of what a course can produce.
Nine students in teacher Tom Herting’s Residential Structures course assembled the plywood shed, which measures 8 feet by 10 feet and is 6 feet high inside, with a shingled roof and hinged doors 6 inches thick.
They built the shed last fall from a design made by Herting with the drawing skills of junior Adrian Hall.
It will be auctioned to raise money for the school Tech Club, with bids starting at $800 and e-mailed to Executive Principal Greg Santoro. The winning bid will be announced June 4.
The top bidder will be responsible for moving the structure out of the building.
The building remains unpainted and without finish.
Meanwhile, for Herting and his students, the shed remains a symbol of possible futures, bringing together skills that many students learned outside of school.
Senior Matt Burkard has helped his uncle remodel apartments, with everything from walls to floors to electrical wiring, the part he likes the most, and plans to pursue at SUNY Delhi.
Senior Kelsey Faberzak has worked for her father’s business, Faberzak Concrete, and plans to enter the Marines, where she will learn to work with heavy machinery and set the stage for having a construction business. She is a student in the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES construction technology course.
Junior Greg Congdon said he plans to study architecture in college, so the course showed him how structures are assembled from foundation to walls to roof. He said he helped his father remodel the family home, and liked it.
Sophomore Justin Worthington said he began helping his father, the late Mike Rudzinis, work on their home in Whitney Point when he was a small boy. He moved to Cortland later.
“He’s the reason I took this course,” Worthington said. “It’s a lot of work. It feels good to see at the end of the day when the walls go up — it’s good to see our progress.”
Herting said a range of students take his course, with some knowing just a little about how to build things and others having learned from their fathers several years ago, growing up on farms.
The course has been offered in the spring but was moved to the fall this year, so fewer students were able to take it. Herting ended up with nine students instead of his usual 16.
They built the shed in the fall and put the finishing touches on it about a month ago.
Usually Herting’s course at Cortland High School concludes with students making a smaller structure such as a dog house or garden shed, maybe 2 feet by 6 feet. This year, he chose a more ambitious project in the large shed.
The students studied the materials that residential structures are made from, then made the basic structure, using nail guns and power saws. They made the trusses for the roof and gradually assembling the shed in what used to be an automobile technology shop before those courses were phased out at the high school.
Each student constructed a model of the shed before tackling the real structure.
“The drawings and details made it easy,” Burkard said.
“You just work hard and focus,” Faberzak said. “We had to work together a lot.”
Herting said bids for the shed can be e-mailed to Santoro at


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