New Mexico high school to build 'tiny houses'

FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2017 file photo, a resident walks past a row of tiny houses at a homeless encampment. A western New Mexico high school is making plans in 2019 to become a tiny house factory to build affordable housing in a city near the Navajo Nation. The tiny houses will be sold at auction at the end of the year to help recoup the costs of the project and help plan for the following school year. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

GALLUP, N.M. — A western New Mexico high school is making plans to become a tiny house factory to build affordable housing in a city near the Navajo Nation.

Hiroshi Miyamura High School in Gallup will begin a program to teach students about building tiny homes and the business behind them, the Gallup Independent reports.

Principal Jack McFarland said the program will provide real results and hands on learning for students. He says the goal is to build around two tiny houses a year.

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"The project will not involve the entire school," he said. "It starts with freshmen and sophomores this year and will develop into the junior and senior levels over the course of the program. The idea behind Pathways is to create better opportunities for students to go to college."

Under the program, every student enrolls in a pathway with a three-teacher team.

The premise behind the tiny house project was to solve an existing problem within the community — in this case: affordable housing, McFarland said.

The tiny houses will be sold at auction at the end of the year to help recoup the costs of the project and help plan for the following school year.

According to the U.S. Census, around 30% of Gallup's 22,000 residents live in poverty. About 42% of residents are Native American and affordable housing has long been a struggle for a city that sits just outside the Navajo Nation.

Many residents often live in rooms in the many hotels that are located along the historic Route 66 highway.

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Information from: Gallup Independent, http://www.gallupindependent.com

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