JDHS house nearing completion

1,500-square-foot home appraised at nearly $350,000

Posted: Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The house being built largely by students in Juneau-Douglas High School's Architecture, Auto, Construction and Engineering Program is moving toward completion - and it's on the market.

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Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

A current appraisal has the 1,500-square-foot house at 3530 Greenwood Ave. at $348,000; the project's market study placed it at $319,000 originally. As all the costs aren't yet tallied, SAGA Construction Manager Justin Fantasia and teacher Colin Dukes said they aren't yet sure how much they'll end up making, though they estimate it at less than $50,000. Any profit will be reinvested in next year's project.

Students and the many organizations working with them have been building the house since the fall. It's slated for completion at the end of June.

What was it like working through the winter?

"Cold and wet," said senior Chris Budbill.

Budbill also said the project has helped him with problem solving - like how to fit things in small places, or "how to get a 400-pound beam up three stories of scaffolding."

"I always thought I was good at using a hammer and nails, but that was just when it was right in front of you. When you're upside down and sideways ... hanging from a rafter, it's harder," junior Dillon Scranton said.

The students, who now number four, including Budbill, Scranton, Dan Turner and Brian Vandor, did framing, siding, poured slabs, installed windows, wiring and roofing, and more.

It was some of the amenities, like radiant floor heating, which circulates water heated by an electric boiler in the floors to heat the house, which added to the value, Dukes said.

The house also has a five-star energy rating.

Over the course of the project, students have shadowed and worked with professionals from the Plumbers and Pipefitters union, Juneau Electric, and others; an extensive list of partner agencies, businesses and organizations is on the project blog at www.jdhshouseblogspot.com.

The decades-old program was resurrected this year after a gap of several years. The district is currently planning on partnering with the Juneau Housing Trust to purchase a property that will serve it for two years worth of construction projects in the Lemon Creek area, beginning next year, Dukes said.

They're planning on building two bungalow-style, more affordable homes on the property, one of which is projected to sell for around $200,000. The other is slated to cost less.

• Contact reporter Mary Catharine Martin at 523-2276 or maryc.martin@juneauempire.com.

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