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A ‘Classy’ New Home

GAVC students finish 21st project house; open house Sunday

The 21st house completed by Grundy Area Vocational Center Building Trades students will be available for someone to call home this weekend.

The open house for the four- bedroom ranch house located at 2415 Indian Grass Road in Morris will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 30.

“The last two homes, even with the housing market, sold within 30 days,” said Bob Humbert, Building Trades teacher.

The Building Trades Project Houses are constructed by junior- and senior-year students in the program at GAVC, with the instruction of Humbert and some other professionals from the trades.

This home took about 3 years to complete, said Humbert. The modern home has four bedrooms and three bathrooms, a fireplace, wood floors, a half-finished basement, and an attached garage.

The main living area of the house is an open layout with a living room and dining room space and kitchen. All the countertops in the home are granite donated by Morris Granite, which has donated the products for the last seven houses.

“The houses are built as spec homes and then are put on the market,” he said.

The open house is a chance for students to show their families their work and for potential buyers to check out the house.

Humbert said people are always surprised to see the quality of the homes built by the students because they are usually expecting smaller homes.

“They are surprised by the quality of the workmanship the kids did,” he said.

About 34 students in the last year have worked on the home, in addition to the classes from the two years prior. The project allows them to get the basics in numerous trades including carpentry, plumbing, electrical, concrete and operating engineering.

“It is the basics of all the trades involved in the building of a house,” said Humbert.

The program has been at GAVC since the 1970s, he said. Students participate in all stages of the house, from framing and brick laying to cabinetry and flooring installation.

Students even volunteered their time on the weekends and during their summer break to complete the home.

“A lot of schools push that they need to go to college and they need to get a degree, but we need people to build things in this country as well,” said Humbert. “To get the kids to volunteer on a Saturday during the school year really speaks to the program.”

James Gretencord, who worked on the house the first two years and is currently a JJC student, said the experience helped him to choose his career.

“My goal is to work in heating and air conditioning. That is something Mr. Humbert turned me on to,” he said.

Getting experience in all of the different trades helped him decide on what he wanted to do for the rest of his life, he said. In addition, Gretencord said he feels better prepared for when he owns his own house one day.

Gretencord worked on the framing of the house and the roof his first year and his second year he helped with the plumbing and electric.

“Building Trades is one of the most influential classes I have ever taken,” he said. “English and math are important, but it is also important to know there is more to life.”

The class and Humbert prepared him for real life, he said.

The Indian Grass Road house has not been priced yet, but should be by the end of the week.

“This is something that is always going to be here, probably longer then they are,” said Humbert. “It’s quite an accomplishment for them to build something that is going to be here the rest of their lives.”

For more information on the house call the Grundy Area Vocational Center at (815) 942-4390.

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