Westminster tiny house could have big impact - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Westminster tiny house could have big impact

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NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. -

The tiny house project at Westminster College is complete, with the first student ready to move in. 

Well before it was even finished, though, the tiny house was already the talk of campus.

"People are, 'Hey, you move into the tiny house yet? Hey Justin, you move into the tiny house yet? Justin, when are you moving into the tiny house?'," said senior Justin Wilson.

Wilson will be the first student moving in. He's a broadcast major doing his senior capstone documentary on the experience and, like everyone else, he's been anxious to get inside.

"It's kind of like a dorm room, but a lot nicer than a dorm room. A lot nicer than a dorm room," said Wilson. "So, I mean. the adjustment is going to be, I think, more the idea of not being able to fit as much stuff rather than living in there, because it's pretty comfy in there."

The house itself is more than two years in the making. Westminster students worked hand-in-hand with local experts and the New Castle School of Trades putting together a 160 square foot house on an eight-by-20 trailer. Students will live there two weeks at a time, tying in the experience with an actual class.

"The vision is, that once a semester a new course will be linked to the tiny house and so those students that are in that course, that's linked to the tiny house, will get to live in that tiny house as part of that course experience," said Westminster College chemistry and environmental science professor Helen Boylan.

Justin's up first, part of his group study with professor Boylan, and then students from a social media class will get a turn. Learning about what you need and more importantly don't need to get by, with an emphasis on environmental science as well.

"We have a lot of environmentally friendly options here; a composting toilet, this spring we're going to be installing solar panels. Certainly, environmental sustainability is the other big feature," said Boylan.

Inside, they use every square inch. There is hidden storage just about everywhere you look. The bed is lofted at the top of the house overlooking the living room/kitchen combo, with the bathroom tucked underneath.

"Anybody who walks by or drives by certainly takes a look and people talk about it. It's great," said Boylan.

A unique house and a unique experience, taking the learning process and just shrinking it down a bit.

Westminster is going to evaluate this house first, but there is a wide-open field next to it, enough room for a tiny house village if they so choose. So if this works as planned, this tiny house could be just the beginning.

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