WESTMINSTER -- They have built themselves more than a house.

To the 200 or so Carroll County Career and Technology Center students whodesigned, built and landscaped the Victorian-style house at 213 E. Green St., it is a monument.

"This is a monument to their work," said John Keefer, the vo-techcenter's carpentry instructor. "They can come back to this place years from now and see where they started. There couldn't have been any better practical experience for them. They can be proud of this."

School officials will turn the keys to the home over to the County Commissioners at a 4 p.m. dedication today. An open house will be conducted from 3 to 8 p.m.

Built on school-owned property, the 2,300-square-foot house features a two-car garage, three "big bedrooms and a big kitchen," dining room, living room, a family room with a fireplace, and a full basement, said Gene Dolly, vo-tech's job coordinator.

Unusual features include two heat pumps with individual controls for the first and second floors, and a heated basement, which willeliminate humidity problems, said Chuck Colson, instructor of air conditioning, refrigeration and sheet metals.

"We all designed and built the house as though we were going to live in it," he said.

Work on the house began more than two years ago. Students in the vo-tech center's drafting program designed the house after surveying other homes on the street.

"It's designed like the average house on the street," Dolly said.

The commissioners will put up the "For Sale" sign, though. They will either auction off the house or seek bids, Dolly said, estimating construction costs at about $90,000.

"Quite a few people are interested in it," he said. "People have been stopping by, and we've had some phone calls."

The project has involved many vo-tech programs, including drafting, masonry, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, air conditioningand horticulture. Food service students will serve refreshments at the open house.

The house originally began as a senior project, but has grown to involve juniors, as well.

"Wewanted them to get their feet wet, to get a taste of it," Dolly said.

Sixteen-year-old Edward Simons is among the juniors who became involved.

Two days before the house's dedication, Edward, who attends North Carroll High School, assisted Keefer with some last-minute nail pounding and other small tasks.

"It's been rewarding," said the Hampstead resident, a carpentry student. "I never dreamed of doing something of this magnitude. And I never dreamed it would take so long to build."

Also getting a taste of real work was Ron Esworthy, a17-year-old North Carroll High School junior enrolled in the air-conditioning program.

"It's been a good learning experience," the Westminster resident said. "We did all all kinds of things."

Colson said students find that actual construction work is different from thetheory they learn in the classroom.

"Learning in the classroom isjust not the same as being out there and doing it," he said.

Added Keefer, "On the job site, not everything comes out perfect. Students have to learn to cope and work things out and hang in there until the product is finished."

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