Career Center house auction

The 1,508-square-foot modular home built by students of the Washington County Career Center’s carpentry program is still up for sale after the school’s annual house auction Thursday evening turned up no bidders.

The school has built 46 modular homes annually through its program since 1973 to give the best real world experience to its carpentry students, and began building homes onsite for auction in 2002.

The starting bid was set at $52,000, which was determined as the value to break even on the cost to build it, but no one showed up in the house-bidding mood, an occurrence that school officials said is rare.

“It was definitely surprising,” said carpentry instructor Ken Gebhart. “We had people asking what the bid was going to be before, but nobody spoke up.”

Last year, the WCCC house went for $60,000, with a nearly identical floor plan.

“We stick to the same floor plans because we’re bound by state requirements,” Gebhart said. “This year we had a lot of snow days, so we weren’t able to get everything done with floor coverings like we wanted, but I was still happy with how it turned out.”

WCCC Superintendent Dennis Blatt was just as surprised as his fellow administrators, but is confident the house can still sell.

“We’ll get it sold, we’ll just try to market it more and give people equal opportunities to bid again,” Blatt said. “We’re not here to make money, we’re here to educate, so that’s our priority.”

Administrators say the house had some interested buyers that were not present at the auction, and were generally confident that the house would sell soon so the school could at least break even.

A total of 20 juniors in the carpentry program built the house, and seniors in the program worked on the cabinetry because the job requires more detail and accuracy.

“We’d like to see the school make some money on it, and it makes the students feel good, but we are still in the business to teach, and that’s what this does,” Gebhart said.

The house is state-inspected and is up to date on all current building codes, features three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, dining room, kitchen, utility room and oak cabinetry with washer/dryer hookups, electric range hookups and two-by-six inch exterior walls.

“We know the quality is there, so we know it’s worth the investment,” said Treasurer Joe Crone, who handles all the auction sales.

Those interested in the house can contact Crone at WCCC by calling 373-2766, Ext. 381.

“It’s a good solid house, and we get comments from contractors who come in and look at it and say they would not be able to move their own house down the road like this,” Gebhart said. “And we do appreciate everyone coming to see our students’ work.”

In addition to the house, WCCC also auctioned off some outdated items the school either could no longer use or no longer needed with the donation of services from McLeish Auction Services in Marietta.

Items included everything from old computer desks and saws to a minivan that sold for $1,400.