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Students build second Comet House

Waupaca School District to sell house

By Angie Landsverk

The house Waupaca High School students spent two school years building is ready to be shown to the public.

The Comet House is open to the public from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 23, in the high school’s student parking lot.

Those interested in purchasing the house, as well as the general public, are invited to attend the open house.

This is the second house WHS students built.

Students completed the first one two years ago and then began working on this second one the beginning of the 2014-15 school year.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the kids to try out a trade and hopefully make a better decision about what they want to do with their lives,” said Dave Larson, who is a technology education teacher at WHS.

Students involved in the project say they learned a lot about the various aspects of constructing a house.

Cal Hruska is a senior and is in his second semester of being part of the high school’s residential building class.

“When we walked in (last fall), we saw it framed. Now we walk in, and it’s a completed house,” he said.

Hruska enjoyed watching the transformation. Jared Borntrager also did.

Like Hruska, he is a senior at WHS and part of the class both semesters this school year.

“I like getting to know the different things that I can possibly do at my own home,” Borntrager said. “This year, more of the work was the finishing.”

Anthony Abhold, a junior at WHS, is thinking about a career as an electrician or a carpenter.

WHS senior Elijah Williams was part of the class last year and this year.

“We were involved in building it from the ground up,” he said. “It’s hands on. You get to learn how things get done.”

The other students currently in the class are Micah Borntrager, Brian Bunge, Samuel Kesler, Kendal Kolpien, Zach Orr and Raymond Zills.
Seth Piencikowski is a junior and was in the class last semester.

This semester, he is doing a youth apprenticeship at Blenker Companies Inc. in Amherst.

“He goes to work from about 6 to 10 a.m. and then comes here the rest of the day,” Larson said. “He gets paid. He’s getting a leg up on a regular apprenticeship. He could roll right into a regular apprenticeship when he graduates.”

Larson said the two-year Comet House project means the first school year involves such things as the framing, flooring and shingling and the second year the finishing aspects.

Numerous local businesses provided their expertise, materials or both, he said.

“The community’s been very supportive,” Larson said.

The contributors for the Comet House were Ken Vergauwen of K & E Builders, Woolsey Plumbing, Bob Underberg, Barth Allan of Billie’s, Inc., Torborgs, Bauer Electric, Derek Nett, Christensen’s Painting and Decorating, Blenker Companies, Inc., Country Drywall & Plastering, Waupaca Foundry and Craig Jenson.

They were invited to a separate showing of the house this week.

The school district is now preparing to seek bid proposals for the sale of the house.

The 1,456-square-foot house has three bedrooms and is completely up to code.

Bids are being opened on June 3, and the minimum bid proposal is $59,000.

The house has to be moved no later than Aug. 19 by the accepted bidder.

Proceeds from the sale go to the high school’s Technology Education Department.

Larson said the district put money up front for the first house and received equipment donations for it.

After the sale of that house, the district had about $20,000 to put toward the second house, he said.

“The plan is to start another house next fall, probably in September,” Larson said.

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