Students, construction industry partner to build for the future

October 30, 2013

From wbay.com: “Students, construction industry partner to build for the future” — Green Bay – A Green Bay non-profit group tasked with renovating and rehabbing run-down homes and neighborhoods is setting to work on a new mission, partnering with a crew you’d least expect.

At first glance, it looks like just another construction project — a garage being built behind a century-old home.

Look closer, and you’ll see the crew is far younger than most, consisting solely of juniors and seniors at Green Bay West and Southwest High Schools.

“We’ve learned how to put up the walls, rafters and headers and kind of just how it starts out,” says Southwest High School senior Xavier Massey.

It’s the result of a new partnership among the Green Bay Public School District, the Brown County Homebuilders Association, NeighborWorks Green Bay and NWTC to not only rehab a blighted property but help students focus on their futures.

“What we’re trying to achieve is give the students a clear path to the construction industry,” says Tim Denissen, NeighborWorks Green Bay project manager.

“Brown County Homebuilders was a big part of that, because there was a need for skilled laborers in the construction trades, and they really wanted to start a program like this at Green Bay Southwest and West,” says Kyle Wagner, residential construction program teacher at Green Bay West High School.

Under supervision from an experienced instructor and local contractors, the nine students are doing nearly all the work, building a new garage and renovating the foreclosure in the 300 block of Oakland Avenue back into the gem it was when built in the late 1800s.

“This home was in serious, serious trouble, but when we’re done with this, it’ll be another housing option for people in the neighborhood,” says Denissen.

And the students like knowing they’re work is making a difference.

“This is my first time actually noticing this house, but it’ll be cool when it’s all done. We can drive past and know the people that actually live here,” says West High School junior Katie Clark.

“It’ll be nice to know that I actually helped and made my community better,” adds Massey.

The students will finish the project in January.

NeighborWorks will then take over and rent out the two-family home.

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