Evanston Township High School construction class relocates home it built during course


Jacqui Guillen/Daily Senior Staffer

Construction workers lift and transport the first floor of the home built by students in the Evanston Township High School course, Geometry in Construction. The entire home was two-stories and approximately 1,500 square-feet.

Yvonne Kim, Reporter

Teachers, students and Evanston residents gathered at Evanston Township High School on Monday morning to observe the Geometry in Construction program move its newly constructed home to a permanent location on Dewey Avenue.

The two-story, approximately 1,500 square-foot house was built by approximately 100 students in the Geometry in Construction math course, which allows students to apply mathematics in the real world through a year-long construction project. During the course, the students constructed the structure for the house, but essentials like electricity and plumbing still need to be installed.

“The way that the class is written is that we always contextualize … why this is important, how we are using this in terms of home-build or construction or any sort of real life work that we’re doing,” ETHS math teacher Maryjoy Heineman said.

The home is the result of a partnership among ETHS, the city and Community Partners for Affordable Housing.

The lot was originally acquired through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2, a city grant from the federal government that aimed to acquire and rehabilitate foreclosed properties after the mortgage crisis, said Evanston’s housing and grants administrator Sarah Flax.

“The property that was on this lot was completely blighted,” Flax said. “So this is a great partnership and a way of getting housing developed on the lot. It’s a community collaboration that I think is really powerful because the students are not only learning geometry … but they’re also really thinking about the needs of their community for reasonable priced housing that a range of people can afford.”

Todd Kihm, general contractor of the house, said he hopes it will be completed before Thanksgiving, after which it will be sold through CPAH. Buyers of the home are required to have a household income that does not exceed 120 percent of the median area income, and preference will be given to those who work for the school or city, Flax said.

“It will be available for people who could not otherwise compete in the housing market to be able to buy a home in Evanston,” said Amy Kaufman, CPAH director of community relations and development. “I think that’s super gratifying. … These (homes) are long-term, these are permanently affordable … and all those students who worked on them always like to say they’ll be able to drive their grandchildren by these homes.”

Many businesses and individuals in Evanston assisted in the construction process as well. Volunteers, including parents and the Northwestern athletic department, participated in community build days throughout the year, Kihm said.

“I think the fact that it stays in Evanston is a really big deal,” Heineman said. “I’m so happy that we’ve been able to develop the partnerships that we’ve had, so that what we are building is something that stays in the community.”

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