IDEA Public Charter School

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1027 45th St. NE, Washington, DC 20019 Phone: (202) 399-4750
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Construction Technology

IDEA's construction technology program provides scholars with the opportunity to gain in-demand carpentry skills while preparing them for post-secondary education including college and apprenticeships.
The sequence of courses in construction technology (following Introduction to Careers in ninth grade) is

>Principles of Construction
>Carpentry I
>Carpentry II taken concurrently with Practicum in Construction
>Practicum in Construction taken concurrently with Carpentry II

Ian Milne teaches IDEA's Principles of Construction, Carpentry 1, Carpentry 2, and Construction Technology Practicum classes. Every summer during college, Ian worked for and learned from a professional builder, the most fun job he ever had. He went on to teach social studies for several years until he came to IDEA to teach construction technology. When he’s not at school, Milne spends time with his four children and the 11 chickens his family keeps for the eggs. He is an avid gardener and his yard his filled with vegetables and flowers, in beds he constructed himself.

Construction Technology News

Carpentry Scholars Finish Building Kiln and Begin Insulating
Carpentry scholars finished constructing the kiln that will be used to dry lumber from across the city and are now insulating the structure. IDEA partnered with Urban Forestry Division of the District of Columbia Department of Transportation to bring the kiln to IDEA. Urban Forestry mills DC trees for lumber using fallen trees, trees that are removed for construction and building, and trees that are removed from permitted private property. Once the trees have been cut down and milled, ACAD will receive the raw lumber that will then be placed into the kiln, essentially a wood dehumidifier, to prepare lumber for use by ACAD and DDOT to build projects city-wide.  
Read more about this project:
New Wood-Drying Kiln to Strengthen Carpentry Program
Preparing for Lumber-Drying Kiln

Carpentry Scholars Visit Casey Trees Farm

Twenty-one scholars in Ian Milne's Academy of Construction and Design carpentry classes spent a cold but exciting day at Casey Trees Farm. The 730-acre farm enables Casey Trees to grow a variety of tree species using pioneering growing and irrigation methods. Casey Trees' staff and volunteers can then share smart growing practices with the people and organizations across DC who are planting trees. About 90% of the trees grown on the farm are eventually transplanted around the city.

IDEA scholars toured one of the nursery fields and learned about the trees growing there, observed operation of a machine that bundles a tree's root system into a burlap bag for transplanting, and helper run the sawmill to cut a walnut tree from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center campus into boards.

This experience gave the carpentry students a deeper understanding of the processes involved in urban forestry and helped prepare them to work with lumber that will be coming to IDEA from around the city to be dried in a new kiln. 

ACAD Students Install New Cistern on Handmade Base to Collect Rainwater to Irrigate Gardens

After building the base in construction class, Academy of Construction and Design students installed a 1,500-gallon cistern outside the school building to collect rainwater. The cistern will serve two purposes: use the rainwater to irrigate the gardens that students have created and maintain to feed students and the community, and divert stormwater run-off that pollutes the Anacostia River. 
Construction Students Shop for Shed Supplies at Community Forklift
Ian Milne's construction scholars received a $350 grant to Community Forklift, an organization that accepts donations of gently used scrap construction materials and resells them to the community. They went shopping, looking for siding, roofing, doors, and windows for a shed they plan to build next to the kitchen garden behind IDEA.