Lebanon students building home for community

LEBANON, Ind. – There's a unique program giving students in Lebanon the opportunity to build a home. The Construction Trades program offers this class to juniors and seniors and after construction is done, they sell it to someone in the community.

The program is separate from Lebanon Community School Corporation with a Board of Directors that began in 2005. The district provides initial funding to allow the program to operate without borrowing costs and the program returns some profit to the district to compensate for the program instructor's salary.

The school district said the program was the number one home builder in the area at one point. This year, the teenagers are building a single story home from the ground up near the high school.

"Not a lot of kids today want to do this type of stuff," said Simon Gaha, a junior.

Gaha has a passion for it so he signed up for the program last fall year to prepare for a four-year apprenticeship after graduation. Roughly 30 students get involved every year and they get class credit for it. This is the program's 14th home.

"This gives me a good opportunity to give me knowledge going into and what I am getting myself into," he said.

Ken Acton has taught the class for six years. With extensive experience in construction, he believes the industry needs more young people.

"People are coming to us wanting to know who are my good kids," Acton said.

He said some of his best students have trouble in school.

"If they don’t want to go to college or they do not know what they want to do, they can see if construction is for them," said Acton.

Ross Wood, a senior, plans to take over his family business after high school. He finished a house last year. It's actually the one next door to the home he's working on this school year.

"It's nice to prepare for life. Teaches you a lot of life lessons," Wood said.

The class should be done with the project this summer. Most of the homes are listed for more than $200,000.

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