By, Stephanie Carter & Lezlee Whiting

Dakota Smuin was one of the first Uintah High School students who helped build the hunting cabin in the Carpentry program at Uintah Basin Technical College (UBTech, formerly UBATC).

He was excited about his role in building the cabin and told his mom, Lacey Phillips, about the construction skills he was learning under the guidance of UBTech instructor Trent Tomlinson.

“This has been a really great project where the students were able to receive hands-on training,” said Tomlinson.

The hunting cabin is about 288 square feet, has twin bunk beds, a full-size bed mounted above a couch which pulls out to a queen-size bed. It’s a completely functioning cabin with a kitchenette area, a full-size refrigerator and stove, mud room, and a bathroom with a toilet, shower and sink.

When Phillips and Bruce Christofferson first saw the cabin it had only been framed but they discussed purchasing it for use as a family cabin, with plans to move to land they own on Diamond Mountain.

“There were other people interested in it, so we wanted to hurry and make the commitment and lock it in,” said Phillips.

When they saw the finished project they couldn’t have been happier.

“We were more than pleased; looking at the wood work and the time that was spent on it,” she said, adding that Tomlinson has done a wonderful job as an instructor.

Smuin, who has taken Tomlinson’s carpentry class for two periods each trimester his freshman and sophomore years, did the wiring, a lot of the woodwork, the flooring, and built the bunk beds.

Because her son was involved in so many aspects of building the cabin, it made it even more special to Phillips.

Phillips and Christofferson purchased the hunting cabin for $38,000 (not including appliances). That money goes back into the Carpentry program to be used on materials for the next construction and SkillsUSA project.

“They’ll get even more practice and opportunities to expand their knowledge and skills,” Tomlinson said.

Smuin will be among those students. He is continuing in the program and is on track to complete the Carpentry Certificate at UBTech.

Phillip’s noted that although her son isn’t planning to pursue a career in construction, the skills he is learning will help him throughout his life, including building his future home and being knowledgeable about numerous aspects of construction.

“Smuin is proof that UBTech’s building trades program is for everyone, and not just for students interested in a career in construction,” said Tomlinson.  “A lot of the students are here to get practical, hands-on, technical skills that will help them in their future.”

The carpentry program recently had students compete at SkillsUSA in construction areas. Masen Holmes received a Gold Medal in Electrical Construction Wiring, Hayden Boren received Silver in Electrical Construction Wiring, and Brodee Oldroyd received a Bronze Medal for Plumbing Tomlinson said.