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For immediate release

Building trades students from the Area 31 Career Center at Ben Davis High School will spend the coming school year turning a vacant lot into a new home, thanks to a new partnership with Indy Gateway.

Ground was broken August 15 on the lot located at 5139 Melrose Avenue on the Indianapolis west side. The new house is scheduled to be completed by spring of 2017. “This project benefits our schools and community in a multitude of ways,” said MSD of Wayne Township Superintendent Jeff Butts. “A new house on a previously vacant lot will provide a new home for a family and improve the important Drexel Gardens neighborhood and the value of its existing homes.”

Dr. Butts is on the board of Indy Gateway, a west side community and economic development organization. Indy Gateway is providing the vacant lot on which the home will be built. Other sponsors of the Area 31 Career Center home-building effort are B & W Plumbing and Heating, FedEx, Lowe’s, and ProBuild.

More than 50 students from the Area 31 Career Center will help build the new home. They will work on masonry, carpentry, roofing, drywall, insulation, interior and exterior trim, and painting. “Working on projects such as this one provides students with a real world situation every day,” said Doug Sisk, building trades instructor for Area 31. “Solving some of these real problems can’t be taught in a book.”

Students in Area 31’s building trades program can earn up to 18 college credits and three national certifications. The program provides students enough knowledge and skill to acquire an entry-level job in the building trades industry, or to continue their education.

Providing training for future building trades workers is essential in an industry where those workers are in short supply. “The Carpenters Union tells us that for every 100 carpenters who retire this year, there will be only 30 to take their place,” says Sisk. “It’s essential that we get more young people prepared for this important career.”

For more information on the Area 31 Career Center’s Building Trades Program, visit or call 988-7230.