ROXBURY — Roxbury High School students built a three-bedroom home in the school's parking lot. It's now time to move it to its permanent location.
As a novel two-year project nears completion, students, school and township officials, local-business supporters and the Morris County affiliate of Habitat for Humanity gathered Monday behind the high school at the parking-lot construction site of a modular house that will be moved to a lot across town next week.
The three-bedroom, two-bath modular ranch was constructed by Frank Caccavale's Structural Design and Fabrication course. Seeking to give his students a unique hands-on learning experience, Caccavale approached Morris Habitat in 2019 about partnering on a home build right at the school.
The class of 2021 got it started. By Monday, 17 more students had completed the two separate portions of the home, which will be lifted by cranes onto flatbed trucks next week for the 6-mile trip across town to its permanent address on Edith Road.
Partnering with Habitat, Caccavale turned to the local business community for additional help. Supplies such as roofing materials, for example, came from the GAF Roofing Academy in Parsippany. Local contractors and developers also contributed their expertise to help the students during the build.
"Recognizing that I couldn't possibly know all aspects of construction, we brought in an expert from the roofing academy," said Caccavale, who describes himself mostly as "a traditional woodshop teacher."
There were also others.
"George our plumber, Matt our electrician, Matt taught us insulation. So many others, so the kids really did learn," Caccavale said.
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On Monday the students offered tours of the 1,044-square-foot home. The walls, windows, floors, wiring and interior plumbing are completed, as is the roofing and exterior vinyl siding. Cabinets are scheduled to be installed prior to the move.
The students had to develop construction skills and learned to navigate supply-chain issues that slowed the project at times, especially during the peak of the COVID pandemic.
"They are not necessarily going to take this course and know how to build a home right away," Caccavale said. "But they are going to be able to know what aspects they like and can decide, 'Is plumbing a career path for me?' That's super valuable for an 18-year-old to know."
Senior Elliott Brown said he plans "to be in the trades" working as a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technician.
"I enjoyed this class because you get to bring a house to people in need, with your friends, that's awesome," Brown said.
Classmate Corey Smith plans to be a crane operator for Local 825. "I enjoyed this class because I've learned a lot that I would not have learned in a normal class."
But the class also includes students on their way to four-year colleges. Clayton Bryan, a Mount Arlington resident plans to become a cardiac surgeon. He said he took the course because he's "the type of person that likes to experience a lot of things. This summer I'm taking a firefighter course."
As an added treat, the students announced their alma mater has been accepted as the first student chapter in the United States to gain admission into the National Association of Home Builders.
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"We are thrilled to have Roxbury High School as part of our organization," said Don Dryness of Main Street Custom Homes in Succasunna, and a graduate of the school. "Way to go, guys!"
Morris Habitat COO Liz DeCoursey said this particular home build, one of 123 the nonprofit has undertaken, was originally planned as a duplex, but was adjusted "to a single-family home so we can have this three-way partnership between the township, Morris Habitat and the high school."
The students are expected to join other Habitat volunteers on the site in July to complete the final details.
The family that will take ownership of the home will be announced next week, and is expected to move in August or September.
William Westhoven is a local reporter for DailyRecord.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
This article originally appeared on Morristown Daily Record: Roxbury High students' Habitat for Humanity house given permanent site