A new “Geometry in Construction” class at Evanston Township High School plans to build an affordable home this school year that will be moved to a city-owned vacant lot and sold to a low-income family.
The project is a collaboration between the school, the city and Community Partners for Affordable Housing.
CPAH will manage the sale of the property and arrange for affordable housing tax credits, which, along with the purchase price, will help fund construction of another home by the class next year.
A Google Maps image of the old, since-demolished home at 1941 Jackson.
The proposed site for the home at 1941 Jackson Ave. was acquired by the city under its $18.1 million federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant — but the existing building on the site turned out to have too many problems to successfully rehab and instead was demolished with the property landbanked for future redevelopment.
Above and top: Architectural drawings of the planned new home.
The program is patterned on one in Lowell, Col., in which students have been designing and constructing a single-family home each school year.
The high school hopes to use the new course to teach math as well as construction trade skills to students who learn best through hands-on projects.
Shelley Gates, chair of the school’s career and technical education department, said the Colorado school has been using the program for seven or eight years.
She added that the Evanston version has already picked up support from an array of individuals and businesses involved in the construction trades.
The school has already prepared an oversize classroom on its campus for the project where the students will be able to work indoors assembling the home which later will be trucked to its final destination.
Bill Stafford, ETHS’s chief financial officer, said the class is part of trend to have more and more students involved in learning by doing and that such classes help students develop their critical thinking skills.
Alderman Delores Holmes, whose 5th Ward includes the planned location of the new home said she’s “super-excited about the project” — that it will be a good way to use the land banked as part of the NSP2 program and to expand the supply of affordable housing in the community.
Aldermen approved the agreement with the high school unanimously.