Officials from the Virginia Beach Education Foundation unveiled their latest creation Tuesday after about two years of work — a four bedroom, two-and-a-half bath, 2228-square-foot house that was built by about 85 students. The house at 1909 Evar Place went on the market for $399,000.
“Every year it gets better and better,” said Chris Ettel, the foundation’s house project chairman and partner at VB Homes.
The foundation has partnered with the school district’s Technical and Career Education Center to build 10 houses since 1996.
Students are involved in every part of the process after the footing is laid, from masonry, carpentry and siding to heating, cooling, plumbing and electricity. They also landscape and do interior trim.
“They learn the basic skills in the shop, but it doesn’t give them the feeling of doing it overhead or under a house,” said Kenneth Anderson, a teacher in the Technical and Career Education Center.
The majority of teachers at the center are former craftsmen who worked in the field before teaching, Anderson said.
The students and teachers spend about 90 to 120 minutes working on the house each day.
“I think it turned out pretty nice for the work that we’ve done,” said Taylor Weatherford, one of the student-builders.
Weatherford and three of his classmates, Raymond Landreville, Conner Fizer and Mattisen Morrill, said they were grateful for the opportunity, even though it was a lot of hard work.
“The fact that we did it,” Morrill said. “It’s awesome.”
The four especially enjoyed the real, hands-on work experience.
“Just the fact that we had the opportunity to do something like this, instead of just sitting in a classroom all day, just listening to someone talk,” Weatherford said.
“We’re very appreciative,” Fizer added.
David Brown, another teacher, said completing a project like this gives many students a sense of accomplishment they might not get in a classroom.
“There are a number of these kids who have disabilities, and a number of them have felt like they can’t do it,” Brown said. “Then they come and do it, and now look back at stuff like this. What it does for their self-esteem is massive.”
The location was selected in part because of its proximity to the center, being just a few miles away, and because of the affordability of the lot, which cost about $125,000, Ettel said. The 11th house will be built next door.
Help for the project comes from many sources. TowneBank helped finance the house, Ocean Bay Homes donated the house plan, and time and supplies were donated by companies such as Beach Windows & Siding, Coastal Hardware, Dominion Virginia Power, Mosaic Tile, Quality Stone Concepts and Westar Roofing.
The more donations they receive, the bigger the profit on each house. Ettel estimated that the Virginia Beach Education Foundation will make between $75,000 and $100,000 from the sale of the latest house. That money goes to the foundation’s Adopt A+ Grant program for classrooms. About 100 teachers received an average of $1,000 each last year, Ettel said.
With another house finished, it’s time to get started all over again. Ettel said he has plans ready for the lot next door and hopes to start construction in a few weeks.