Hawkeye Community College students building energy efficient homes in Waterloo neighborhood

posted on Monday, July 22, 2019 in  College News

WATERLOO, Iowa (KCRG) - The City of Waterloo is getting some help from Hawkeye Community College students to help erase blight in one neighborhood.

Students built one energy-efficient home in the neighborhood at 219 Newell Street. Last week, the city council gave the college the go-ahead to build another one at 221 Newell Street.

People say the neighborhood was once thriving, but now, there are several vacant homes, and the neighborhood needs some work done. Leaders hope the new homes will raise property values and help residents care about the neighborhood.

The two homes will look exactly the same when they are finished--four bedrooms, a downstairs, and two bathrooms. Hawkeye got most of the materials donated to the house, and their students are building the homes through a program at the college.

They learn real-life job skills, while also helping out a community. The program can lead students on the path to running their own construction company.

"I definitely think that some of the different areas in our city could use some renovations and some upkeep, some upgrading,” said Jacob Boeschen, a former student at Hawkeye Community College who helped work on the homes. “I think being involved in a project like this has definitely sparked some invigoration within our neighborhoods and the community."

HCC hopes to have the first home on the market after they finish up some interior work in a couple of months. They will break ground on the second home next month.

"Hopefully that will spark interest,” said Ben Strickert, the instructor for the program at Hawkeye Community College. “The neighbors will be more likely to do some improvements on their home, and the city will gain a little bit of taxable value."

Hawkeye purchased the lots from the city for a dollar each. The city will own the homes after they're built and will sell them. There's no word yet on how much they will cost.

By Phil Reed, KCRG-TV9 News


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