Nichole Brazee, left, and Amber Mixon, right, two students at the Bath Regional Career and Vocational Center, watch as the house they helped build is lifted up to be placed in its permanent home on Chestnut Street in Bath. The house was purchased by Bath Housing and will be sold as affordable housing. Kathleen O’Brien / The Times Record

BATH — A house built by students from the Bath Regional Career and Vocational Center carpentry program was delivered Wednesday to its permanent home on Chestnut Street in Bath where it will become affordable housing.

Bath Housing, which provides safe and affordable housing to seniors, disabled households and families in Bath, purchased the house from Bath Rotary Charitable Trust and contracted with Vaillancourt Builders LLC to oversee the sitework, building move and finish work.

The house will go on the market early this summer and will be sold to a family at or below 80% of the area median income. In 2018 Bath’s median income was $50,160, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“We’re incredibly excited about this project,” said Bath Housing Executive Director Debora Keller. “We’re continuously working to find ways to bring more affordable, and appropriately located, housing to the area.”

Bath Housing currently operates 185 apartments. Five of its properties have rents subsidized by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

A citywide property revaluation conducted last year showed property values in Bath have increased 14% since 2005, which follows statewide trends. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the median price of a home in Maine was $155,300 in 2005, when Bath’s last revaluation took place. In 2017, the median price of a home in Maine was $179,900, marking a 15 percent uptick.

In Sagadahoc County, the median price of a home was $240,000 in 2019, up nearly 5% since last year’s median house price of $229,000, according to the Maine Association of Realtors.

The student-built home is 720 square feet with two bedrooms, one bathroom and an open floor plan with cathedral ceilings in the kitchen and living area. It’s the ninth modular home built by the Bath vocational students designed to move to its permanent site after construction.

“There’s such a lack of people in the trades right now, and we need more young people learning the trades,” said Keller. “That this brand new home was built by students who are actively developing trade skills to this community is an added bonus.”

Students worked on the home throughout the two-year carpentry program in which they were taught how to frame the home, build risers, install interior trim, sheetrock, roofing and siding. They were also responsible for installing cabinetry, windows and doors.

“It’s surreal because not too long ago we were looking at photos of our class framing the floor,” said Amber Mixon, a student in the program. “Now this is a home that somebody is going to live in, raise a family in and make memories in.”

“I can’t wait to drive past this with my kids one day and say ‘I built that house,’” said Nichole Brazee, another carpentry student.

Mixon and Brazee agreed the most difficult part of the project was cutting and building the rafters in the roof. However, while it was difficult and frustrating at times, they agreed they’re proud of their work and want to build another house someday.

Ray Bernier, a carpentry instructor, said the rafters and roof are his favorite part of the house as well because he watched the students work through the challenge of designing and constructing it piece by piece. However, he added he loves watching the students when the house is lifted into place.

“(The students) know they’re the ones who built it, and I love watching their faces and eyes as they watch the house get moved,” said Bernier. “That’s the satisfying part of it all for me.”


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