At the end of the school year, most high school students have a term paper or a science experiment to show for their hard work.
A group of students from Northwest Suburban High School District 214 have a four-bedroom, 2½-bathroom house they designed and built from scratch.
The large ranch home at 809 Camp McDonald Road is the culmination of two years of work from more than 50 students across all of District 214's six high schools who took part in the Practical Architectural Construction, or PAC, class, instructor Marc Sears said.
The house officially will be listed through a Realtor in mid-July, with an expected asking price of $599,000, officials said. The home, in the Hersey High School attendance area, also features a three-car garage, fireplace, deck and a mix of hardwood and carpeted floors.
Students had a hand in every part of the project, from an architecture competition to design the house, to installing windows and cabinets on the finished product. All student work was overseen by teachers and professional contractors, Sears said. Students and the public got an early look at the completed house Thursday afternoon at an open house.
"It's definitely a good feeling when you put a lot of hard work into it," said 2013 Prospect High School graduate Chris Zimmer. "It's awesome to see it complete."
Justin Stron, another Prospect graduate from 2013, took the skills he learned in the PAC program to college, where he is studying construction management at Western Illinois University. "I've always been good with my hands, but it was pretty incredible seeing it all come together from the first layer to the drywall and everything," Stron said. "It's a beautiful house."
The district originally purchased the vacant land in Prospect Heights for about $110,000, said Dan Weidner, director of career and technical education.
Any profit from the sale of the home will go toward future home projects, including the next two houses to be built by the PAC program, both in Arlington Heights.
For Prospect senior Nick Fowler, the PAC program was a way to stay interested and engaged in the classroom.
"School can be boring, but this was interesting. To me, this was fun," he said.
Fowler, who finished second in construction at the state Skills USA competition as a junior, kept working on the project after the school year ended, finishing the large backyard deck.
The PAC class takes up about three class periods of the students' day, making it a mostly senior-level class. Students work on-site daily, even through rain and snow, Sears said.
"You can sit in a classroom all day, but until you're immersed in it and you're in the action, you don't really get it," he said.