OAK CREEK - Every school day this past year, 16 Oak Creek High School students went to work on building house.
And that house just hit the market.
"I think it's crazy that we built it," said junior Elias Pace. "We're only 16, 17, 18, and we actually built a house."
The student's finished project is valued more than $300,000, according to real estate agent Jon Michals, who is helping the district with selling the house.
However, the year of work was about more than just enhancing a piece of real estate. The project is a part of the Knight Construction program at the high school, a class students can take for two credits that teaches them vocational skills, or just how to fix up the house they will someday own.
"I feel like what we expose the students to here is a real-life application that they are going to take with them, whether they someday own a home .. or that's their career choice," said Matt Longeran, the program's director.
Beyond serving as a symbol of the students' hard work, the three-bedroom, 2.5 bath house is also a representation of cooperation between the school and contractors, businesses and others who have a hand in the process.
Throughout the year, the students worked with more than 30 different companies and organizations – from ABC Supply to Zuern Building Supplies. Many businesses donated supplies for the house, and others helped by sending in contractors to teach the students the tricks of the trade.
"We had a lot of local unions come and help," said Longeran. "They modified their schedules to the students' so that they could get real exposure to HVAC, plumbing, electricals. ..."
Working with these contractors allowed the students to have many teachers throughout the project, not just Longeran. It also helped a few of them learn more about what they'd like to do when they graduate.
For example, after working with a professional painter, senior Sebastian Brich learned that's what he wants to do for a living.
"I was kind of thinking about it, but actually doing it made me want to pursue it," said Brich.
Many students also got the opportunity to connect with people in the industries they want to go into, and Longeran said some students in the past two years of the program have walked away with many network connections, or even apprenticeships after they graduate.
"Our goal, really, is to get these students placed," Longeran said.
Even if the students do not walk away with a future in construction, Longeran said that they will always have a lasting symbol of the work they've done.
In the market
Now that the house is built, it will hit the market, and will likely sell quickly. The sale on last year's house was officially closed in August, and with granite countertops, hardwood floors and ornate fixtures, this house is also likely to catch a buyer's eye right away, Michals said.
According to Michals, the house officially went on the market June 12, priced at $314,900.
Once the house is sold, any profit from the sale will go back to the district and back into the program for next year's project.
While the house will be a home for the person who purchases it, it will also forever remain a part of the students' portfolios and in their memories of high school.
"They have something to show for their work," said Longeran. "You can tell when their families and their friends come to see it, you can see in their face that they're proud of what they accomplished. This house will be around for 50-plus years, and they can bring their family back and say this is something I built when I was in high school."