Student-Built Home Almost Ready for Residents

Student-Built Home Almost Ready for Residents

Students from three programs help with new home for adults with disabilities

| By: Daley-Hinkens, Carmelyn M

In May of 2023, the latest building project for students in the Residential Building Construction program was a dusty plot of land overcome by tall grass.

Months later, a one-story, four-bedroom house stands proudly on the property, and in a few months, students will hand over keys to the owners. But this isn’t just any home.

“I think it’s so cool that the house we’re building is for people with disabilities,” says student Justin Golesh. “There are not a lot of contractors who would know the specifications that are necessary to make the little adjustments to fit their situation. I appreciate that the first time I’m working on a full-scale project, start to finish, it is a house for those with disabilities.’

Every year students build a single-family house as part of the technical diploma program. For the first time, a class is building a mobility-friendly home in Neenah for four adults with disabilities.

“A standard vanity isn’t going to be the standard one,” instructor Ben Fouts explains when pointing out how this project is different. “We’re going to make sure that somebody can wheel underneath it and be able to turn out without having to back out; things like that, we’re making sure is convenient.”

The project is the result of three organizations coming together. Covey, which provides respite care and disability services in the Fox Valley, began working on this project with Winnebago County a few years ago as a way to address the growing demand for supportive housing. They eventually reached out to Fox Valley Technical College to join the effort.

Students in two other programs are also contributing to the project. Horticulture students will be offering design and consultation. Students in Landscape Design 1 will design some landscaping options for the property that include accessibility features compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. The focus will be on a colorful entrance garden in the front and a sensory garden in the back of the house. Students in Landscape Design 2 will then convert the hand-drawn plans to 3D imagery and share their work with Covey for future planning.

Interior Design students who previously completed the Basic Kitchen and Bath Design course were allowed to create a vision for the kitchen. The students’ designs were reviewed this past summer and a kitchen concept created by student Ashley Albinger was selected for the house.

The students' efforts from all three programs are expected to come together in late April. Covey is planning a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the completion of the home and welcome the residents to their new home. 

Check out local media coverage of the construction project 

NBC26: FVTC students building house for disabled students

WFRV-TV5: Fox Valley Technical College students breaking ground for families in need

Spectrum News 1 Green Bay: FVTC students build home for adults with disabilities