OTC heading up effort to help students, neighborhood

OTC heading up effort to help students, neighborhood

Friday, March 04, 2011

Contact

College Director of Communications
417.447.2655 publicinfo@otc.edu
Steve Koehler
Coordinator of Publications (417) 447-2666 koehlers@otc.edu

Ozarks Technical Community College and a collaboration of civic, community and business leaders are joining together on a project that will educate students while improving a local neighborhood.

 Project CoRE soon will begin construction of a home on North Clay Avenue that will give both OTC construction technology students and at-risk youth from the Division of Youth Services an opportunity to learn hands-on in a construction-related environment.

 David Lowry, a construction faculty member at OTC, said it has been a dream of his for many years to get at-risk students involved in such a project.

 “We’ve been in the planning for a couple of years. I taught these kids for 10 years in smaller projects and it’s been very successful,” he said.

 The city of Springfield obtained a grant from the federal Housing and Urban Development to pay for the work although contributions are being sought for a contingency fund. Students from both OTC and youth services will received class credit and a small hourly wage for their work that will include landscaping, sheet rocking, tiling, putting up siding and other basic carpentry work.

 The 1,500-square-foot home, which is expected to cost about $95,000 to build, will sit on one of two empty lots the city of Springfield owns and will have a number of green elements to it to make it energy efficient.

Another home is expected to be built on the second lot sometime in the future. The Urban Neighborhoods Alliance will sell the houses.

 Bob Horton, executive director for UNA, said the new house will have a very positive impact on the neighborhood.

“A lot of time, projects like these have a domino effect on a neighborhood.  When people see a house being built or rehabbed, they make an effort to do the same to their project. Projects like these help to raise the owner-occupied rate in a neighborhood,” Horton said.

 

The students will work on the house under supervision by local trade businesses and it is expected to be completed in late fall.

 

Those interested in contributing toward the project can contact Horton at 886-4774. More about the project can be found on the UNA website at www.unaonline.org/ProjectCoRE.php

 

Steve Koehler is coordinator of publications at Ozarks Technical Community College. Contact him at koehlers@otc.edu.