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When Victoria Turner reflects on assignments she brought home from school, none compare to her final high school project – a newly constructed home. In December 2023, Turner is bringing home a 1200 sq. ft., three-bedroom, two-bathroom house built entirely by Academy District 20 (D20) students.

Through Liberty High School’s (LHS) Career and Technical Education (CTE) Building and Construction classes, Turner is one out of 100-plus students who built the house.

“When my mom heard we were building an entire house at school, she wanted to buy it,” Turner explained. “She’s always been interested in my school projects, and this is no different.”

In 2021, D20 partnered with Careers in Construction Colorado (CICC) Home Build Program where students construct a house on district property, earn industry certifications and learn skills like carpentry, plumbing, electrical and job safety.

“We’re building the future here,” Jaime Hernandez, LHS Building & Construction teacher said. “These students put their heart and soul into constructing this house.”

With CICC, industry experts monitor the project, provide materials, curriculum, and connect students with local companies.

“We’re doing everything we can to make their high school experience as relevant to the real world as we can,” said Jamon Peariso, D20 Director for College and Career Services.

Two years into the program, nearly 130 students have earned HBI Core of Construction and OSHA 10 Certifications, allowing them to begin careers after graduating high school.

Turner used her skills and certifications to land a job at a local roofing company in Colorado Springs. She explained, “My co-workers always tell me I’m the only female they’ve seen in the roofing industry.”

The juxtaposition isn’t new for Turner. Before she graduated, she was one of a few girls in the construction program, inspiring her to recruit her friends.

“Some of them were scared to join, but since I was in the class, they knew they could come to me with questions,” she said.

The completed home will be moved to Victoria’s family property in the Black Forest area. In January 2024, LHS Building & Construction students will begin construction on a new home. 

Building & Construction classes are open to all D20 juniors and seniors through an application-based process. Learn more on ASD20.ORG.