District 211 students show off house they built in Palatine

  • Palatine resident Angel Ewald, left, grins Sunday as he and Palatine High School senior Audrey Birk walk into a newly constructed house he designed during his junior year of high school. The home at 155 E. Glade Road was built by building construction students from Fremd and Palatine high schools. Birk designed one of houses that next will be built by students.

      Palatine resident Angel Ewald, left, grins Sunday as he and Palatine High School senior Audrey Birk walk into a newly constructed house he designed during his junior year of high school. The home at 155 E. Glade Road was built by building construction students from Fremd and Palatine high schools. Birk designed one of houses that next will be built by students. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Susan Veller, left, and her daughter Cathy Veller, both of Palatine, view a home built by students from a building construction class at Fremd and Palatine high schools. Cathy's son, Hunter, was in the class and helped construct the house at 155 E. Glade Road.

      Susan Veller, left, and her daughter Cathy Veller, both of Palatine, view a home built by students from a building construction class at Fremd and Palatine high schools. Cathy's son, Hunter, was in the class and helped construct the house at 155 E. Glade Road. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • A guest of an open house Sunday views the master bedroom of a home built by Fremd and Palatine high school students.

      A guest of an open house Sunday views the master bedroom of a home built by Fremd and Palatine high school students. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Mark Hibner, applied technology department chairman at Palatine High School, shovels snow outside a home built by students from Fremd and Palatine high schools.

      Mark Hibner, applied technology department chairman at Palatine High School, shovels snow outside a home built by students from Fremd and Palatine high schools. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • A home on East Glade Road in Palatine was designed and built by students from Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211.

      A home on East Glade Road in Palatine was designed and built by students from Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • A home designed and built by Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 students includes a chef-style kitchen and oak flooring.

      A home designed and built by Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 students includes a chef-style kitchen and oak flooring. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • A stairway leads from the kitchen to the basement in a home built by students from a building construction class at Fremd and Palatine high schools.

      A stairway leads from the kitchen to the basement in a home built by students from a building construction class at Fremd and Palatine high schools. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Josh Cattero, left, building construction teacher at Fremd High School, and Chris Gunsteen, who teaches the class at Palatine High School, talk about the home built by their students during an open house Sunday.

      Josh Cattero, left, building construction teacher at Fremd High School, and Chris Gunsteen, who teaches the class at Palatine High School, talk about the home built by their students during an open house Sunday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/15/2019 6:38 AM

Angel Ewald was grinning ear to ear Sunday afternoon as he walked into a newly constructed, 3,137-square-foot home in Palatine.

As a junior at Palatine High School, Ewald designed the two-story, four-bedroom house as part of his Project Lead the Way civil engineering and architecture program. Over the last two years, his vision was brought to life by dozens of building construction students from Palatine and Fremd high schools.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The house at 155 E. Glade Road features a modern layout with a chef-style kitchen, oak flooring, a laundry room, a fireplace, a deck and state-of-the-art security system -- all completed at the hands of students under the direction of their teachers. Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 hosted an open house Sunday to show off their work.

"It's awesome to finally see it (done)," said Ewald, who now studies technology education at Illinois State University.

The building construction class provides high schoolers with a hands-on learning opportunity that helps them build up their technical and professional skills, from laying tile to building relationships, said Chris Gunsteen, who teaches the class at Palatine High School.

"It's a bridge between the education world and the professional world," he said. "There's a level of trust (and) a rapport that gets developed through this project."

For students like Donovan Sandoval, a senior at Fremd who plans to pursue a career in architecture, the experience was invaluable. Though she's familiar with building design software, she said the hands-on work she completed on the house -- painting walls, installing base trim, building out the laundry room -- helped her stand out and land an internship this summer.

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"I told them about this class, and they were really impressed by that," said Sandoval, a Hoffman Estates resident. "It looks really nice on a resume."

For some, the building construction program serves as the first step for getting a job or an apprenticeship immediately after high school, said Josh Cattero, who teaches the class at Fremd.

"There are a lot of successful careers out there in construction that we help open their eyes to," he said, noting a four-year college isn't always the best or most feasible option for students. "It is not the only route."

Palatine resident Cathy Veller said her son, Hunter, falls into that category. Before graduating from high school and joining the Marine Corps, Hunter gained valuable life skills during his two years in the building construction program, she said. He even retiled his mom's bathroom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I feel like a lot of kids are pushed into academia, and some of the kids aren't built for that," Veller said. "He was more about learning through being hands-on and participating in something, so it was just the perfect combination for him."

The building construction program has allowed students to have a hand in producing houses for the last 40 years. Only recently did the district start holding a contest for students to design the homes and present their work, Superintendent Dan Cates said.

Homes designed by Palatine students Nelson Bartolo and Audrey Birk are next on the docket to be built.

"Our purpose is to get students ready for life after high school," Cates said. "This is a wonderful program. They pick up skills, develop connections and develop a lot of confidence in starting a project and finishing it."

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