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ETHS students to build fourth house

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The Evanston Township High School board is slated to approve an agreement Tuesday for the fourth year of its innovative "Geometry in Construction" program.

This year the vacant lot designated to get a new affordable single-family home is at 1509 Emerson St.

The now-demolished building at 1509 Emerson.

The three-unit building there had originally been scheduled to be rehabilitated under the city's federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant. But contractors for the city determined it was too structurally compromised to be repaired, and so it was demolished in August 2012.

Under the the four-party agreement to be approved Tuesday, the city and its partner in the NSP grant program, Brinshore Development, will donate the property, ETHS will build the home with a combination of student and contractor labor, Community Partners for Affordable Housing will locate an income-qualified buyer and arrange for affordable housing tax credits to subsidize the purchase, and the proceeds of the sale of the property to the new buyer will reimburse the school district for construction costs.

Under the program a family acquiring the 1,200 to 1,500 square foot two-story home would need to have an income no more than 120 percent of the area median household income.

The agreement calls for relocation of the finished house to the property by November 2017 and completion of the sale by the end of that year.

The program has also completed a home at 1941 Jackson Ave. in 2014 and one at 1820 Dodge Ave. in 2015. 

School officials say the program helps teach math as well as construction trade skills to students who learn best through hands-on projects.

With the city demolishing 13 more dilapidated properties this year under a state grant, there likely will be sites to accept the student-built homes for some years to come.


Update 9/7/16: The District 202 Board of Education unanimously approved the plan for the Geometry in Education house in a roll call vote at its Tuesday night meeting..

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