Perry High School students could be building houses next year if a proposal from the Building Trades Department is approved by the Perry School Board.


Chad Morman, high school building trades instructor, presented the proposal during the March 11 Perry School Board meeting.


He would like to see the high school offer a construction program where students build one complete house per year.


The program is one that Morman is familiar with as his construction class at Greene County Community School District built a house a year. This is his first year at Perry.


“Start to finish, building a house,” Morman said of the potential program at Perry. “Kids would be involved in as much of it as possible. Get their hands dirty, muddy, (involved in) as much of the process as we can.”


He added that having the students work on and complete a house would give them “working skills that can help them for the rest of their lives.”


One of the bigger concerns he heard when putting the proposal together was whether or not the students could build an entire house in one school year.


Morman showed pictures in a slideshow during his presentation at the March 11 school board meeting. Those pictures were of mostly completed houses done by the Greene County students.


The first house was 1,200 square feet with a 24 by 24 foot garage and a 28 foot approach. The students completed all the inside and outside work on the house before graduation. During their last week, they finished installing a railing and laid sod.


The next house Morman showed the school board members was a custom-built two story home. The first floor was 1,475 square feet and the second floor was 1,325.


“I brought these to you as visual aids to promote what can be done when the kids are invested into it,” Morman said.


The 1,200 home was completed with the help of eight students, while six to seven students worked on the two-story home.


Morman expects the Perry students to have a similar level of commitment to the project if the board approves it.


Board President Kyle Baxter asked Morman to go over where the homes would be built.


He said they are currently working with the City of Perry to potentially get all of the property remaining on the old middle school ground. Around eight to 10 lots could then be formed for eight to 10 houses.


“There’s a lot of good energy,” Superintendent Clark Wicks said of meetings between the school, the City of Perry, Perry Economic Development and Des Moines Area Community College.


Morman said they are working with DMACC about the possibility of having the construction class be a dual credit class. He added that they are also working with Perry Economic Development on grant writing and other funding options.


The homes built by the Perry students, Morman said, would be spec homes. Those homes would then be sold and the profit would help fund some of the larger expenses in the industrial tech area.


Right now, Morman said he has around 10 students interested from the industrial tech classes. He would like to keep the number at 10 to 12 to start.


Morman is also looking forward to the possibility of partnering with the community through the new program.


“We’re excited about the possibilities,” Wick said.


No action was taken by the school board. Wicks said the proposal will come back before the board during the next board meeting on April 8 once everything is finalized.