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Central High’s students get real-world experience from building single-family home

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It was a long project for Central High School students but they can finally look on it proudly.

Three bedrooms. Two baths. A two-car garage. It’s a home valued at $160,000 right there on 22nd Street South. All completed by some Red Raiders.

Students started building the house last year through Nick Kalina’s Architecture Construction Engineering class at Central.

“We sat down last school year and decided we could build our own home,” Kalina said. “We decided to do this and partnership with the city of La Crosse and their rehabilitation program.”

Two class periods everyday students worked on the house.

“In the construction field and a jobsite, an hour and a half is not that much time,” Kalina said. “By the time we get here, we get our plan together, get our tools together and get working, we probably had a little over an hour to work on the home and that’s why we did it in two years.”

Students also got help from local construction companies in getting materials, along with some other real-world experience.

“Once a month they’ll take 4-5 students and do job shadows and show them the commercial construction piece of it too because it’s mostly residential we’re exposing them in this program,” Kalina said. “They get to show them different careers in the construction industry and hopefully spark an interest.”

The house is being sold as part of the city’s Replacement Housing Program. Those who make 80 percent of the county median income are eligible to buy.

Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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