High school’s home-building program gains interest

CHAPMAN, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas high school’s house-building program has gotten the attention of a local developer and at least one family that want to pay for the next home before it’s built.

That’s welcome news to Chapman High School’s construction tech teacher, Josh Schlesener, who considers the requests to pre-purchase student-built homes as a compliment to the quality of the program.

He also thinks having someone pay up front for the materials would take a lot of pressure off of him and the school district,

But with one developer wanting to buy up to 12 homes to put on his lots to sell, and a family wanting to pre-purchase a home of their own, Schlesener said the only problem is that his class isn’t capable of doing more than one a year.

Each year the construction tech class builds a home that is auctioned off near the end of the school year. Last year’s house sold for just over $60,000 at an auction that had two main bidders.

Last week, school district officials discussed the requests to pre-purchase the homes.

“All of a sudden we have multiple people interested in these houses,” School Board member Kevin Harris said.

Board members talked about other options for selling the tech homes, including a silent auction or a lottery held before they are constructed.

One of the reasons the developer is interested in Chapman High School’s house is because others aren’t as “finished” as the homes produced by the local program, Schlesener said. The homes Chapman students build are ready to move into, he said, which isn’t always the case at other schools.

“They don’t do some of the things we do,” Schlesener said.

The board is expected to discuss the pre-purchase idea at a future meeting.

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