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10 for 10

SWCC’s ‘tech-prep’ house program finds success with 10 houses built, sold

Published: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 2:49 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 2:54 p.m. CDT
OST photo by AMY HANSEN Clarke and Central Decatur high-school students in Southwestern Community College's trades and industry carpentry program take a break from digging a sidewalk on Wildflower Drive.

Ten houses have been built. Ten houses have been sold.

Construction work on the house in Osceola for Southwestern Community College’s (SWCC ) trades and industry carpentry programfor high-school students is ready to be completed.

Throughout the school year, area high-school students have been building the new house located on Wildflower Drive.

This is the program’s 10th house to be built and sold.

“It’s a great program for helping young people who are interested in the building trade,” said Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC) Executive Director Bill Trickey at a May 8 Osceola City Council meeting.

Building success

What’s the secret to the program’s success?

Charlie Mundy, the program’s Osceola SWCC instructor, called the style of the 10th house a “starter-ranch” with three bedrooms and a shared bathroom.

“It pretty much has everything that you need. Not a bunch of space. Not a bunch of luxury. But, it’s nice,” he said. “We’ve got hardwood floors in this house, ceramic tile in the bathroom.”

One key to the houses selling quickly is they have been “downsized,” Mundy said.

The program has gone from bigger houses with finished basements to smaller, basic houses without finished basements. With the current housing market, the bigger houses typically have problems being sold.

The last day of construction for the students was Friday. Mundy said the homeowners will take over after inspections Wednesday.

Students have been working on the house the entire school year. After their final day, Mundy will still be at the house dealing with inspections.

“It gets me excited, I guess. We keep tweaking them every year trying to see what the market is doing,” Mundy said. “We’re pretty lucky.”

In the community

According to Mundy, the community is fortunate to have a class that offers a building trades program.

“There’s not very many schools or educational classes in the whole country that are building houses,” he said.

This house is the seventh house Mundy has helped build.

Ideal layout

As for the layout of the 10th house, Mundy said, with an unfinished basement, the homeowner has the potential to add more rooms because the space is usable with egress windows. An egress window is a window large enough for exit or entry in case of an emergency.

The bathroom is a “Jack and Jill” bathroom where people can enter from the master bedroom or hallway.

The laundry room is also in the bathroom. With the SWCC houses, the laundry rooms are typically easy-access and located on the main level.

All of these design factors could be more appealing to a first-time homebuyer who’s starting a family or a retired couple who want less housing maintenance, Mundy said.

“I think that all has … a lot to do with the success,” he said.

As for an 11th house, Mundy said “it’s in the works.”

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