Jun. 9—Perry High School students who’ve spent three years renovating a house got a chance to show off the results of their hard work during a special event.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours took place June 8 at a house on Utah Court in Perry Township, where students have played an integral part in upgrading the home and preparing it to be sold.

Students from Perry High School’s home-renovation classes have been using the house, located at 4330 Utah Court, as a real-world classroom since August of 2019.

The house, built in 1964 and purchased by Perry Schools three years ago, has provided students with a place to receive hands-on experience in various aspects of home construction and improvements.

It was Perry School District’s inaugural attempt at buying a house and then conducting a class in which students renovate the structure.

The district’s goal is now to sell the house, and recoup at least the $89,500 purchase price. Any sales proceeds above that amount would be earmarked to help buy another project house.

Over the past three academic years, about 100 students from teacher Ryan Zusy’s home-renovation classes worked on the house. They received guidance on home construction and renovation techniques not only from Zusy, but also an assortment of local professional contractors.

“It went very, very well,” said Zusy, as he reflected on the project. “I couldn’t be happier with the kids’ progress and what they did, and the contractors we partnered with. It’s been amazing.”

Grant funding secured by Perry Schools paid for professional contractors to instruct and advise students while they worked. Those contractors also took the lead in performing some of the more intricate tasks that were part of the endeavor.

In addition, the district obtained grant funding to purchase all of the building materials, supplies, furnishings and equipment needed to renovate the home.

Students carried out duties at the house such as demolition, installation of windows and doors, hanging drywall in the garage, and painting. They also worked alongside contractors on jobs involving plumbing; heating, ventilation and air conditioning; electrical systems; and pouring and finishing concrete.

Jack Giles, a home-renovation class student who was a junior this past year, said his favorite task was demolition work. However, he said it also was helpful to learn about home renovation and repairs.

“I think I got a lot of valuable skills on how to work on houses,” he said. “Even with me going to college and I’m going to have to go through my future, I know how to do things, from changing a faucet to painting walls to even some electrical and plumbing.”

Devin Dennison, who just completed his sophomore year at Perry High School, said the class taught skills that he was looking to use in his future career.

“So actually, I really wanted to get into construction, and our school offered this opportunity to get a basic hands-on of, ‘OK so you can take a horrible-looking house and make it a beautiful house,’ and just learning everything that most students don’t learn as far as being in school, you actually have to go to a trade school and learn,” said Dennison, who took the class as a freshman.

Perry Schools Superintendent Jack Thompson said he was impressed with the upgrades that students made to the house.

“Hopefully they take some skill-sets away that they are going to be able to apply both in their lives when they have homes, and maybe in their careers,” he said.

Thompson also commended the Perry School Board for providing seed money to buy the house; and district administrators who applied for and acquired grants to purchase items needed for renovations, and pay contractors who worked with students.

“We just have great people who are willing to step up and do things for kids,” he said.

Zusy, whose teaching specialty is science, technology, engineering and mathematics, said the original goal was to have the house finished and ready to sell by the summer of 2021. But the project deadline was extended by a year because all Ohio schools stopped in-person instruction for a stretch during 2020 because of the pandemic.

Perry Schools initially must attempt to sell the house through a public auction. If that effort is not successful, the district then can conduct a private sale of the property.

Thompson said the district already has contacted a Realtor to schedule the public auction.

“And hopefully, the house will sell at a fair price,” he said.