FEMA Honors Students For Building Hurricane Proof Model Home

It was great day for several vo-tec students at Ocean Springs High School. After weeks of hard work, the young men and women were honored for building a model structure to help citizens rebuild better in a post-Katrina world.

"This project is called Mitigation House, and the great thing about this home is it was built by the 2003 International Building Code," FEMA Representative Herman Price said.

Trade Instructor Jason Smith says when FEMA contacted the school about the special project, it was an offer they couldn't turn down.

"The kids were glad to take on a project that would be a challenge to them," Trade Instructor Jason Smith said.

"I want to be architect when I grow up, so I figured it will help me out in the long run," junior Trey Tinsley said.

"I like working with my hands, and it was better than sitting in a classroom, and I can help my city out," junior Chase Cullen said.

The home looks like a plain wooden structure, but the materials and construction make it a top model.

"It's made with 2X6s instead of 2X4 framing. It has twice as many hurricane clips then most homes that were built in the 80s and the 90s," Smith said.

"The windows and door openings are twice as strong as they were before, and it will be bolted to the concrete slab between every stud."

"This project is 90 percent complete because the kids have not put the roof on it. And the roof will be screwed on, not nailed on. So this is a lot safer," Price said.

The home can withstand more than 130 mile per hour winds. FEMA officials say the home should not float away or cave in.

"I would much rather clean mud out of my home than to go out and replace the whole foundation," Price said.

The Mitigation Home will be displayed inside City Hall. That way building inspectors can show residents some of the safe techniques they can use when rebuilding their homes.