Students from the Academy of Technology and Academics, in partnership with the Horry-Georgetown Home Builders Association (HGHBA), built and donated 25 feral cat homes to the Horry County Animal Shelter this past week.
Tammy Elvis, membership coordinator with HGHBA, said the homebuilders are trying to do all they can to get more students into building construction.
“The construction industry needs help,” Elvis said.
Bernie Davis, building construction instructor at the ATA, said 14 students worked in pairs to get the 25 cat homes finished, and with their teamwork it took only about 10 minutes for each house to be put together.
Horry County Police Lt. Justin Wyatt, who oversees the animal shelter, said there is a huge need for the feral cat houses, and this partnership benefits multiple areas.
“There are so many entities involved, the county alone cannot do this job” Wyatt said. “This will save a lot of cats’ lives this winter.”
The homes will go to known feral cat colonies in the area, as well as to some homes in the county that have reported seeing many cats in their area wandering out in the cold.
As for how many more they need, Wyatt said they can always use more.
“We never have enough, there is always someone in need,” Wyatt said.
The kits to build the cat homes are readily available online at stores including Amazon and PetSmart.
Elvis said there are about 22 local students involved in the National Association of Home Builders, and Davis said he hopes the number of students who want to learn about the building industry will increase soon. He said he is in his second year at ATA and is in the midst of rebuilding the program.
“It’s a much-needed industry,” Davis said. “Just like the automobile [industry], everybody’s gotta have a vehicle to get to work, and have somewhere to live. Businesses…gotta have buildings.”
Davis said the HGHBA is trying to help spread information to get other students interested in the career.
“It’s a very important field that needs to be filled. Students can leave high school and make a wealthy living,” Davis said.
He said the partnership with the HGHBA was a great benefit for the students.
“They got to see there is a need other than building houses – how to properly follow directions to build something, also, how do you do it safely? Safety is involved with everything you do,” Davis said.
The three-year program at ATA involves Building Construction I and 2, and during their senior year they take Building Construction 3 during the first semester, and the second semester is spent working in an internship.
“In that area we focus on safety, framing a house, as well as plumbing in and doing electrical work,” Davis said.