Indianapolis News and Headlines


Indy students build house, help revitalize west side neighborhood

Posted at 6:04 PM, Jan 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-28 02:19:30-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- A struggling neighborhood on Indianapolis' west side is getting a boost from a group of high school students.

The group, all taking the 'construction trades' class at the Area 31 Career Center, is working to build a three bedroom, two bath home in the Drexel Gardens neighborhood. 

“You take these kids and see that drive and when they start to understand it they start to become leasers and that’s what we look for and they do it all the way through the house,” said Bill O’Neil, their instructor. 

It’s a neighborhood that’s full of empty lots and abandoned houses, and people who live there say seeing the new construction gives them hope for their future.

“I feel very blessed that they looked into our neighborhood and found some property to buy. It gives people here hope,” said Drexel Gardens Christian Church pastor Gary Lynch.

Indy Way, the community development corporation, purchased the land for the house and put together the deal with the career center.  

The students build the house from the ground up, but they’re not responsible for the plumbing, electrical, heating or cooling. They should have it completed by May.

“It makes me feel really good. I get to be involved in bringing an old neighborhood back to life by putting in a new house,” said student Ernest Sparks.

The Area 31 Career Center’s ‘construction trades’ class is a two-year program that offers students up to 18-hours of college credit that carries with them when they graduate.