Community members invited to tour homes built by Perry High School students on May 25

Allison Ullmann
Perry Chief
Perry High School students help carry carpet for the spec home being built at 2108 Otley Ave. The building trades department will host an open house from 3-7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 25.

The community will get the chance to see two of the homes built by Perry High School students during an open house on May 25.

The building trades department is wrapping up work on its second house and plans to have it open for tours from 3-7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 25 at 2108 Otley Ave. Hot dogs and hamburgers will be served and students will give tours.

Chad Morman, PHS industrial tech instructor, said everyone is welcome to attend the open house and see both houses completed by the high school building trades students. The first home was completed last year and was sold, though the owners haven’t moved in yet. The current home will also be listed for sale and the realtors will be on hand on May 25.

Morman said the first home will be staged while the current home will not as it has been hard to find appliances and furniture. 

The kitchen area inside the second spec home being built by Perry High School students at 2108 Otley Ave. An open house has been set for 3-7 p.m. on May 25.

Both homes feature similar layouts and sizes, though Morman said this year’s home and garage are two feet deeper. This year’s spec home is 34 by 40 feet while the garage is 24 by 26 feet.

“That extra two feet was the minimal cost of what we needed to make this a desirable home for everybody that we think the market is looking for,” Morman said.

The home features three bedrooms and three baths, which Morman said is a popular option. He also added a second egress window in the basement so a fourth bedroom can be added with the addition of a wall and closet.  

While Morman estimated the high school students did around 80 percent of the work, they also had a number of local contractors helping throughout the course of the project.

Perry High School junior Ian Castellanos works in the spec house on Friday, May 14.

“It’s good to have all the support that we can to try and get as much of this done as we can because it is only an hour and a half a day that we get,” Morman said of the time students have to spend on the house each day.

The students worked with the various contractors and helped with everything from setting trusses to siding to laying carpet and more.

“You can definitely tell from the beginning of the year to the end of the year, just the difference in the work ethic as well as the responsibility that they take on,” Morman said of the students. 

The students have been learning how to meet deadlines, especially as they are coming up on the end of the school year and have a punch list of items to complete before the open house. Morman said one of the students stayed after school one day to finish up a project before carpet could be laid.

Junior Alex Fickbohm helps get a room ready for carpet to be laid inside the spec home being built by Perry High School students.

“I told the kids that if they leave here they don’t need to be a contractor, they could realistically just know how to work on their house or have a better work ethic,” Morman said of having the students develop employability skills.

Junior Sam Ridnour had planned to go into construction but has changed his path to welding.

“But I really think it’s a great learning experience. If I buy a house someday, I’ll know how to do pretty much anything in the house,” he said.

Senior Andrew Galindo works to trim carpet pad inside the spec home being built by Perry High School building trades students.

On the other end, senior Andrew Galindo said the skills he learned in the class will help him next year as he plans to attend DMACC for construction management. 

“It taught me a lot of things that are really going to help me for my major. I mean everything, from building a house from straight grass all the way up,” he said.

Galindo’s favorite part “is definitely the end, getting to see everything come together. I never thought we’d get here.”

“At the beginning of the semester, you didn’t think you would be this happy seeing the house where it is right now. Now when I look at it, it looks like an actual house,” Ridnour added.

Perry High School junior Cayden Widen works in the spec house on Friday, May 14.

Work is wrapping up on the second home ahead of the May 25 open house. Five more lots are available for the building trades department to build more homes in the 2100 block of Otley Avenue.

The Perry School Board approved the program in the spring of 2019 and the first home was completed last year. The first two homes were built on property that used to house the former middle school. The school district had given the land to the city of Perry.  The Perry City Council approved giving the first two lots back to the school district.

More:Perry School Board hears presentation from PHS Building Trades Department

The proceeds from the sale of the homes are then rolled into the program to build the next one.

“That’s really all we’re here for, to try and make sure the kids learn and make it sustainable,” Morman said.

Perry High School junior Camden Jones helps lay carpet pad on Friday, May 14.

While the current spec home is set to be listed, Morman said they are working on details for the sale of the third home. That home will be a custom-built one.

“I’ve had several people say ‘I think this is a great idea, but this isn’t the house I’d like,’” Morman said. “At the school district we have the capability of drawing all the blueprints, we have an interior design class, we have the capabilities of basically being the general contractor for you to do whatever house you would like.”

He encourages the community to come view the first two spec homes on May 25 and he hopes to see the program continue to grow.

“The amount that it helps the community, that it helps the kids, the district, is substantial for what we do. All around a win for everyone,” Morman said.

Two of the spec homes built by Perry High School students in the 2100 block of Otley Ave. Community members are invited to tour both homes during an open house from 3-7 p.m. on May 25.