The hard work and dedication of Pasco high school students will be on display today at the annual Team Pasco Homes dedication and open house.
A 2,200-square-foot home built by the students is open to the public from 1-6 p.m. at 4911 Indian Ridge Dr., Pasco.
Students in the Pasco School District have been building homes in the community since 1997 as part of an annual project. They pound the nails, they install the windows and cabinets, they even choose the appliances.
Team Pasco Homes -- known as Bulldog Homes before Chiawana High School was built -- is an innovative program, created by a visionary group of community leaders and educators. It's overseen by the volunteer board of the nonprofit Pasco Vocational Building Programs.
This latest project is a collaboration between students from Chiawana, Pasco and New Horizons high schools.
Raul Sital, principal at Pasco High School and owner of home number seven, said 30 to 35 students participate in the program each year.
"There's usually 15 to 16 from Pasco and the same from Chiawana. Two students from New Horizons also signed up this year," Sital said.
The students receive career and educational credits for their work and an opportunity to learn in a real-life way, he said.
Sital has had no issues with the home he bought nearly 10 years ago, he said. "My house is wonderful."
Pasco Vocational Building Programs buys the land and gets the house plans, usually sometime in the summer, said Carl Leth, the board's vice president.
Work on the foundation usually starts before school begins. The students complete a safety course before they ever set foot on the site, and the board avoids two-story house plans, Leth said.
"Safety is key," he said. "We don't want students around heavy equipment."
The students do everything except electrical, plumbing and roofing work. For those tasks, John Weatherby, the teacher who's taught the course since its inception, has a list of businesses and contractors he can call on.
"Sometimes they work gratis, other times we help pay for materials and they donate the labor," Leth said.
The students are divided into two groups during construction. Each group works on the site for two hours each school day before heading back to class.
The average sale price of the homes -- numbers 1-15 -- has been $215,000, according to the board. Much of the money goes back into the program to be used on the next house, but about $15,000 is set aside for scholarships.
"Some years we make enough, sometimes not," Leth said.
Because the building project involves students in all the Career and Technical Education courses -- including agricultural science, floriculture and metals and welding students -- the scholarships aren't limited to those who pound nails or lay carpeting.
"The only criteria is the applying student has to have worked on a project in some capacity," Leth said.
-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org