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High schoolers build a house while getting hands-on construction experience

Students working on deck
New home build
New home builds in Bargersville
Students measuring aluminum
Student gives tour
Central Nine
Students learning hands-on
Students put finishing touches on home
Posted at 9:22 AM, Jan 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-11 10:29:07-05

GREENWOOD — High schoolers are getting hands-on experiences in the in-demand construction industry thanks to a unique program at Central Nine Career Center in Johnson County.

Current and past students in their C9 Constructions Trades program are celebrating the completion and sale of a new home they built themselves in Greenwood.

New home build
Aerial view of the C9 home build in Greenwood.

The home on Kay Drive sold just before the end of 2023 and we caught up with students and their instructor as they put the final touches on this massive project.

"Behind me is the house we've been working on for the past two years," said recent Center Grove graduate Nathaniel Hardin, who currently works as a carpenter and apprentice. "When we first started it was just dirt, kind of just a hill going down."

Students measuring aluminum
The instructor helps guide students in each task.

Hardin says they had a hand in each step of the process.

"The foundation got built up, we started building walls from there," said Hardin. "Everything just kept going up. We put on the roof, started drywall, trim, and this is where we are today."

The program follow specific curriculum and C9 has an agreement that students in this program can join apprenticeships and skip the first year, setting them up for career success early before even graduating from high school.

Student gives tour
Students helped with drywall, trim and more in their home build.

Braden Hall is a recent Whiteland High School graduate who took part in this program and house build, and he too is in a second year apprenticeship.

"I didn't really know what to expect," Hall said. "Most of the drywall inside, that was a big part of what I did."

Hall says in addition to learning how to use tools and different aspects of construction, they also earn certifications while in this class.

Central Nine
The Central Nine Construction Trades program involves students from several area high schools.

"Not a lot of people get to have this opportunity, ya know, to build a house at 16, 17, 18 years old," Hall said.

For Southport's Zachary Looper, who is currently working for a demo company and attending C9, he credits his instructor and the program for helping him get into an electrical unit.

"He taught me how to run a skid steer and I run skid steers all the time now at work," Looper said.

And says the program helped him with his resume.

Students learning hands-on
The students in the program get to learn the tools of the trade and gain skills in a hands-on way.

"Without C9, I don't think I would be able to be where I am today," said Looper. "We built a house for God's sake, and it was one of the coolest things I've done."

The house is a four bedroom home with an entire downstairs living area and theater room.

Aerial view of backyard
The house has 4 bedrooms and a walkout basement.

For C9 instructor, Frank Wormann, the satisfaction is teaching the students valuable skills they can turn into a great career.

"Coaching someone in the job you love to do," said Wormann. "It's a lot of fun. I enjoy it, and ya know, we built that."

Wormann has been with C9 for nine years and in that time his students have built five houses and a training house at the C9 campus.

Several of his students go on to apprenticeships, unions, working in residential, some go on to study construction management in college, and others start their own companies.

Students put finishing touches on home
As the home got ready for sale, students returned to the property to work on the final touches.

"We've got several guys who have done that, come out and started up their own companies, and they are out working and doing well," said Wormann.

This house on Kay Drive sold in December for $455,000 according to the listing on Zillow.

To learn more about the construction trades program or any other program C9 offers, visit the C9 Career Center website.