Career center house sold

A Washington County Career Center alumnus on Tuesday became the owner of a house built by career center students.

Derek Hesson, 27, of Warren Township, bought the house with a bid of $60,000 over a pair of other bidders during the center’s annual auction. He said he felt relieved after the sale was made.

“I’ve been looking for a house for the past two years,” he said. “Everything’s too expensive.”

Hesson, who studied welding at the career center about 10 years ago, said he’s confident in the quality of the three-bedroom, single-story structure since it was overseen by center instructors and passed state inspections.

“They do a good job,” he said.

It’s the 11th house built on-site at the career center and auctioned off. Juniors in the career center’s carpentry program built the house, and juniors and seniors in the carpentry program wired it, said career center Superintendent Dennis Blatt.

“Our goal’s just to get back the money and materials we have invested in that house,” he said, estimating that amount at around $53,000 this year.

The main focus of the project is providing real-world experience for the students.

“Someone’s going to live in it, so it’s not pretend,” carpentry instructor Ken Gebhart said. “Wrong is wrong, and it has to be right.”

Prior to the house sale, auctioneer Keelan McLeish, who is also a welding instructor at the center, sold a trio of cars for a total of $5,400. The vehicles serve multiple purposes for the center before they’re auctioned off, Blatt said.

“We actually buy them at less than cost, and then our auto collision, auto mechanics students work on them,” he said. “Then we put them in our fleet for our staff to drive.”