student construction workers stand in line inside framed-up house

Let’s Build A House – Or Two, Or Three!

Community agencies are partnering with Fargo Public Schools Career and Technical Education construction trades classes to provide real-world learning opportunities for our students.

By Cass County Career and Technical Education Center Director Dr. Denise Jonas

photo portrait of Denise JonasWhat better way to learn about the construction trades industry than by applying it to a real life project! As we kick off another school year, Fargo Public School’s Construction Technology instructors will hit the ground running as they prepare to work with their Construction II students to build not one, not two, but three house projects during the 2016–2017 school year. In light of construction and trades workforce deficiencies, this initiative exposes and prepares students for future careers in the industry, along with skills for life.

logos of business partnersHouse #1 will be managed by Fargo South High instructor Ron Streit and his students. As a city revitalization project, students will have a unique opportunity to construct this house onsite at 1406 16 1\2 Street South, in Fargo. The project itself models business collaboration at its finest! Joining forces are the City of Fargo, Fargo Public Schools, the Home Builders Care Foundation (HBCF), M-State’s Herdina Academy, and local contractors, all partnering to guarantee the project launch and completion.

The City of Fargo was responsible for lot preparation and grant funding, while HBCF provided donations and volunteer support to begin construction of the detached garage. From June 6–17, M-State instructors worked with 18 students (many pictured at left) enrolled in this summer’s Herdina Academy to build, shingle, and side the garage. Local contractors worked from July through August to pour concrete and finish the foundation. Fargo South High students will start construction on the 1,300 square foot house in September, with work scheduled to conclude in May 2017. The home will be available for sale by Park Company Realtors once it is inspected and cleared for occupancy at the end of the school year.

Students on ladders working on house under construction

House #2 will also be managed by Mr. Streit, but built by Davies High School students. This structure will be a 1,800 square foot home built on the Davies campus. The home has been pre-sold and will be moved to the Minnesota lakes area by its owners upon completion.

House #3 will be managed by first-year instructor Joe Riley, who replaces retiree Doug Snare at Fargo North High School. Riley’s background in construction and project management will give him an edge in helping his students manage the construction of a 1,800 square foot house on the North High campus. This project has also been pre-sold and will be moved to the Casselton area when finished.

An open house will be scheduled for mid-May 2017 to allow students, parents, and the public to view all three of these house projects.

If you are interested in a future house-build of your own, please contact Denise Jonas, CCC CTE Director at 701.446.1008 or Your participation and partnership will help Fargo Public Schools to educate the students of today to be the workforce of tomorrow!