Door County high school students build home from start to finish

STURGEON BAY, Wis. Instead of sitting in a classroom, some Door County high school students start their mornings climbing ladders with tools in hand. It’s all a part of the "High School Home Construction Program," where students are in charge of the build from start to finish.

The construction site is at 344 N.19th Avenue in Sturgeon Bay. Students in the high school home construction program recruited from four Door County high schools to learn all aspects of a home build.

"They're also getting 12 credits through Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, so they have print-reading, framing instruction and everything, this is the whole gamut from start to finish, the kids have a hand in every part of the build," said Seth Wilson, Technology Education Instructor for Sturgeon Bay High School.

Students watch and work alongside construction professionals, gaining hands-on experience and skills.

"It definitely feels like you're at a jobsite, you're actually working, you're learning more stuff. You're going to do a lot of different things than you would at a school, instead of doing it out of a book, you're doing it hands-on," said Caleb Buchberger, a senior at Southern Door High School.

This is the ninth home built by the High School Home Construction Program, a total of eleven Door County high school juniors and seniors are hoping to finish the house by the end of the school-year.

The program has proven to be successful. Some of the contractors helping teach were once part of the program themselves.

"It's an incredible program, what's been neat is we've had sub-contractors come out to the job site and they talk to the students about how much this program meant to them, and how it helped get them to where they are today and that's a pretty strong message," said Wilson.

After the house sells, the money will go toward next year's program.

The program is funded by the Door County Economic Development Corporation. The project is a collaborative effort between DCEDC Business and Education Partnership, Door County Homebuilders Association, Door County School Districts, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Portside Builders of Sturgeon Bay, Van's Lumber and Custom Builders of Dykesville/ Egg Harbor.