This year marks a historic number of affordable houses made possible by local high school students from Great Falls High, C.M. Russell, and Paris Gibson Education Center. The build site is located on 512 6th Ave S, which currently stands as an empty dirt lot. In the next eight months, these 35 students will brave the Montana weather and learn valuable skills as they construct a home from the ground up.
The High School House is one NeighborWorks Great Falls (NWGF) most well-known projects. In partnership with Great Falls Public Schools, the High School House is a win-win for everyone. NWGF supplies the lot, arranges subcontractors, and finances the construction while also working with potential homebuyers to get them ready for homeownership. High School House buyers must be first time homeowners, which can result in first-generation homeownership. In return, students gain real-world knowledge in an out of classroom setting while making a positive impact in their community.
“As a mother of one of the High School House students, I am beyond proud today,” said Ashley Benefiet, NWGF staff member and parent. “My son attends CMR has worked for his first two years of high school to get into this program. He loves everything construction. Even as a little boy, I would find him trying to figure out how things work by taking them apart and putting them back together. His dream is to own his own construction company one day, and this opportunity will get him started on that path. I am so excited to watch this house progress and hear from him daily on the things he is learning from this class.”
The finished home will be revealed in May during an open house event. Not only is the exterior built by the students, but the interior is done by them as well. Interior design students submit design boards, and the winning board is used in the home.
Learn more about the program here: nwgf.org/highschoolhouse