Dauphin County Technical students gain hands-on experience by flipping Harrisburg home

Harrisburg

DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — Trade jobs are in high demand. Students at Dauphin County Technical School are getting real-life, hands-on experience, and their work can help educate the next generation of students who plan to seek trade jobs in the future.

Right now, the DCTS students are flipping a house located at 616 Wisconisco Street in uptown Harrisburg. It caught fire in April 2020.

“When we first got in, the ceiling that was still here and the walls were dark and black from the smoke and soot,” said Robert Brightbill, a DCTS building and construction instructor.

According to Brightbill, the amount of debris in the home was “breathtaking.”

“One of my friends was the landlord of this property and was looking to sell it,” Brightbill explained. “We were in a position at the school where we could buy it, so we got it for a really good price.”

Their plan is to completely renovate the house.

“We’re going to have a half bathroom in the corner there,” Brightbill said. “What we are doing today is … encapsulating the stacked stone foundation in concrete.”

Brightbill says DCTS seniors from the Building and Construction and Carpentry programs are working together to renovate the Harrisburg home.

“The students are learning how to do the concrete work, how to put the concrete in place, how to smooth it out and make it level — and make it look pretty,” Brightbill said.

By renovating the home, students get class credit while also gaining professional experience.

“It’s something good to look back on, when this house is finished, and say, ‘I helped out with that, I contributed,’ it’s a good feeling,” senior Carpentry student James Kearney, Jr. said.

Brightbill is also looking forward to the end result.

“I’m excited to have this project done and have people come in for the open houses,” Brightbill said. “When we go to sell it and have the kids here, so they can see the people be really impressed with what their ability level is.”

The DCTS students are set to finish the project in the next school year. The money they raise from flipping the house will go toward the school’s next project.

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