SFA’s School of Human Sciences to co-host open house for tiny homes

NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University’s James I. Perkins College of Education and the School of Human Sciences are co-hosting an open house featuring four tiny homes built this fall by students in the school’s construction management program.

Held in partnership with Village Nac, a faith-based shelter for those suffering from poor mental health and homelessness, the free event is from 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 9 at 1188 County Road 823, the site of the village. Faculty, staff and the community are invited to tour the homes and hear about the building program, which is expected to resume next fall.

Sally Ann Swearingen, SFA associate professor of interior design and construction management, led the effort to bring new – and much needed – tiny homes to the village.

“We really want people to come out and see what the students have been doing for the last few months,” she said. “They are learning more than they ever could in the classroom, and they are also serving the community — an important part of all the human sciences degree programs.”

Working in teams of four, the 16 students enrolled in the “Building Construction Systems” course built 120-square-foot homes, each with a porch and a kitchenette. In the spring semester, SFA interior design students will finish the homes with paint and furnishings, earning the six hours of community service needed to obtain the bachelor’s degree in interior design.

The project, funded by a $115,000 grant from SFA’s Center for Applied Research and Rural Innovation, is the first of its kind in the Perkins College of Education.

Swearingen said she’s excited about the tiny homes. But for her, the bigger picture is the overall development of the construction management degree program. A partnership between SFA’s college of education, Rusche College of Business, Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, and College of Sciences and Mathematics — construction management was established in 2019 with three enrolled students and now has 84.

“I get calls every week about the program,” Swearingen said. “The program is growing so fast that we don’t have enough room, but I’m sure the room will come in time.”