The crane lifts the lower level from the flat bed and is set into position.

The journey from 1600 Dodge Ave. to 2142 Dewey Ave. can be measured in months as well as miles. Over the course of this past school year, students in three classes of Evanston Township High School’s Geometry in Construction course studied plans, solved problems, learned and applied skills, passed inspections, and built a two-story house in the school’s south parking lot. On June 13, the house, in two pieces, was loaded onto flatbed trucks and escorted by police motorcycles to its permanent address on Dewey Avenue, where it will be sold to a family at an affordable price.   

This is the third house designed and built at ETHS, principally by the Geometry in Construction students but with outside help on Community Build days. Architect DonnaLee Floeter designed each house to fit on the lot where it would eventually be placed. This house, she said, has the same layout plan as last year’s, to fit on a narrow but long lot.

Sarah Flax, Housing & Grants Administrator for the City, said the City donated the Dewey Avenue lot, which it acquired as part of the Neighborhood Stabilization 2 Program. “[The house] was in bad condition, and the developer had it demolished,” she said.

Maryjoy Heineman and Matt Kaiser, who co-teach the Geometry in Construction class, said the greater number of students and the warm winter allowed them to do much more work on the house this year. “We were able to finish the stairs and put on the siding and do some of the roof,” said Ms. Heineman. “The exciting part about this year is how much further we’ve gotten,” said Mr. Kaiser. “This year the kids got to see one more step.”

Both teachers said the benefits of the project reach beyond the classroom.

“Being a construction teacher, when I hear from students or their parents that the skills they have learned are transferred to the real world, it’s very exciting,” said Mr. Kaiser.

 “I feel very lucky that we have support not only in the school but in the community,” said Ms. Heineman. “There was a lot of excitement and a lot of enthusiasm and the opportunity for us as teachers to do work that benefits everyone. What’s great, too, is that this is real
life – there’s someone outside of us to be accountable to – the inspectors and the eventual owners of the house.”

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...