Officials from home improvement retailer Lowe's will provide a $100,000 grant to a nonprofit that helps Pasco School District students build homes as part of their education.
The cash grant will be awarded today to the Pasco School District Vocational Building Programs Board during an open house event for the latest project of Team Pasco Home.
District officials and board members said the gift from Lowe's will go far in allowing students to continue building homes, gaining valuable work experience and confidence.
"It is a permanent thing that lasts in the community," board member Mary Kay Britton said.
The board acts as the financial backer and owner of the homes built by Team Pasco Home. The program was formerly known as Bulldog House before last year, when students from Pasco, Chiawana and New Horizons high schools first worked cooperatively on a house at 3502 Hovley Lane.
Chris Martinson, Pasco's director of career and technical education, said about 55 students worked this year's home at 3426 Angelo Lane. That included students studying construction and metalworking to agricultural science students doing the landscaping. In past years, students in accounting, interior design and other courses have also contributed.
“Kids can learn through a real world project, a hands-on project,” he said.
Martinson said Maggie Morris, a local Lowe’s employee, approached the program about pursuing a grant through the retailer and she and Martinson drafted it.
“By supporting school districts like Pasco, we know we’re contributing to a cause that’s important to our customers and employees and helping build a stronger foundation for the children who will be tomorrow’s employees, homeowners and community leaders,” said Marshall Croom, chairman of Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation in a press release.
The homes are like any other, though Martinson said they come with lots of extras, such as a Jacuzzi, irrigation systems and landscaping. A price hasn’t been set for the Angelo Lane home but the one on Holvey is listed at $223,900.
Carrie Chambers, a board member and Realtor who helps get the homes listed once they are completed, said the homes are well-received by prospective buyers.
“People are pretty proud of them,” she said.
Britton, who’s served on the board since the program began in the late 1990s, said she also has seen the pride the students take in the homes they build.
In the program’s first year, one student told her he couldn’t be on the football team, a role he felt honored his school, and he didn’t he’d think he’d be able to any other way.
“But because he built the house, he felt he had given pride to the school,” Britton said.