Prince George’s Co. students built their 46th house. It sold in a day

Prince George’s County high school students at the dedication of the house they built. (WTOP/John Domen)
The kitchen of the four-bedroom colonial in Brandywine built by PGCPS high school students. (WTOP/John Domen)
The upstairs of the four-bedroom colonial in Brandywine built by PGCPS high school students. (WTOP/John Domen)
Prince George’s County high school students stand on the porch of the four-bedroom colonial they all built together. (WTOP/John Domen)
The house in Brandywine being prepared for the dedication ceremony. (WTOP/John Domen)

For 46 years, Prince George’s County high school students learning different trades have teamed together to build a house. Think of it as a class project on a massive scale. On Thursday, the students came to the end of a cul-de-sac in Brandywine to celebrate the completion of this year’s version — a four-bedroom colonial with a finished basement.

“We came here when it was just a hole, a hole in the ground, now look at it,” said Savon Squire, a masonry student at Crossland High School.

He and about 150 other students from around the county worked on the home, each leaving school one day a week to work on it.

“I put my heart, sweat and tears into it,” Squire said. “I bled. I had sweat all everywhere, coming back to school drenched.”

In all, about 85% of the home was built by the students, from carpentry and masonry to electrical, plumbing and HVAC work. Contractors were only brought in to check on the work and handle some of the more dangerous jobs that students shouldn’t be doing yet.

“I was like, ‘oh, it’s really nice!'” said Jahia Drew, who is also learning masonry at Crossland. She and Squire did a lot of the brick laying on the front facade of the home.

“It was a lot of work that we put into it,” she said.

Even though she’s been studying masonry, getting the job done meant doing some carpentry and electrical work inside the home. The experience helped set her up with job offers to pick from when she graduates in a few weeks.

“I don’t know of any other county in the state that does something like this,” said Kirk Stiffler, one of the on-site coordinators.

This home in Brandywine is the sixth one the school system has built in this neighborhood. The Foundation for Applied Construction Technology for Students is the nonprofit that runs the program with the county, and uses proceeds from previous sales to buy lots in new neighborhoods that then become future student-built homes. The program is now looking for its next opportunity to buy and build.

“The kids see it through from the very beginning to the end,” said Stiffler. “They get to see it from just a hole in the ground to the end. It’s really rewarding. It’s a really rewarding job to see how things change throughout the year.”

Even though they did the work and saw it happen, the students who came back for the dedication were impressed with what they did.

“Wow, wow. That’s the first thing, just wow, it’s beautiful,” said Squire.

Someone else thought so, too. The house sold for $625,000 after being on the market for less than a day.

“Mmm, I was like that’s a lot of money,” Drew said. “I know my work is worth it and I know someone is really appreciative of what we’ve done.”

Squire joked it should have gone for $700,000, but he also admitted “that number, it’s mind blowing. It’s mind blowing at the end of the day.”

“The hard work paid off. Literally.”

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2023 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up