BELLPORT - Some students are ditching the textbooks and picking up a hammer instead.

Justin Halikias is a Miller Place High School senior enrolled in the Residential Carpentry Home Improvement Class. He is one of several students participating in the half-day program at the Eastern Suffolk BOCES. 

After completing academic studies in their local schools, they come to the Bellport campus to learn carpentry.

Francis Nilsen has been teaching his students how to build a three-bedroom house nail by nail.

He says it’s a two-year project. Nilsen says students completed all the framing, roofing and the fascia boards last year.

This year, the students came in and cut out the door and window openings.  The house is expected to be completed next fall.