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July 23, 2019

6/26/2019 1:59:00 PM
From House to Home
By Mary Helt Gavin

The house that glided up Dodge Avenue on June 24 was an Evanston house from floor to rooftop. It was designed by local architect DonnaLee Floeter and built by the 99 students in Evanston Township High School’s Geometry in Construction class. The two-story, three-bedroom, two-and-one-half bath house now has a permanent home at 1729 Dodge Ave. With 1,500 square feet, it has a laundry, kitchen, great room and half-bath on the first floor, and three bedrooms and two full baths on the second floor.

There is a foundation but no basement, said Matt Kaiser of the ETHS Career and Technical Education Department, who, with co-teacher Maryjoy Heineman, led the Geometry in Construction class. He added that a three-foot knee wall in the attic will provide a crawl space and also make the roofline the same as those of the other houses on the block.

To help keep maintenance and utility costs down, Mr. Kaiser said, “we try to choose energy efficiency appliances, but cost does play a role in the decision making. The insulation, furnace, tankless water heater, and ac unit are high efficiency units, which makes a big difference.”

The is the sixth year the high school has offered the Geometry in Construction class, building the house in two separate sections – first floor and second floor – in the south parking lot. Again this year, the City sold to the high school one of the buildable vacant lots it owns, so the house will remain in Evanston.

It will also remain affordable, Mr. Kaiser said.

Ms. Heineman said the class is optional – “students self-select. They are looking for a different experience.” After building a house, though, “we don’t have another project at this point.”

ETHS Mathematics Department Chair Dale Leibforth said the weather “was a bit of a problem” in getting the house ready to move. He added, “We have two of the most amazing teachers in this high school supervising the project.”

Career and Technical Education Department Chair Shelley Gates said, “We had a great team supervising the 99 students.” She also said she is looking at property for next year’s house.

Hannah Owens, a rising sophomore, said, “The roof and the trim were challenging, because we were learning new things. Building the house was fun, because we were all collaborating and at the end we could say, ‘We built a house.’”

The program is collaboration among ETHS, the City of Evanston and Community Partners for Affordable Housing.

Those interested in purchasing the home can contact Community Partners for Affordable Housing at 847-263-7478 ext. 20 or Purchasers’ household income cannot exceed 120% percent of the area median income.


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