CHESTERTON — Chesterton High School building trades students watched Tuesday morning as the house they built spun in the air before being lowered onto a flatbed trailer.

The house was transported to Michigan City, where it will be sold to a low-income family.

Harold Kelly, a driver with Burns Harbor-based Trans-United, is used to moving oversize objects, some of them much larger and much heavier than the section of house he was moving Tuesday morning.

“This is kind of like a Tonka toy,” he said.

That half of the house weighed about 15,000 pounds, was just over 40 feet long, 14 feet wide and 15 feet tall, he said.

Principal Brent Martinson stood in the school’s parking lot, watching the process.

“Ten years from now, they can go out to Michigan City and say, ‘I built that,’” Martinson said.

Three of the 35 students who built the house were at the school at 6 a.m. Tuesday, eager to see the house being moved and help when needed, Superintendent Ginger Bollinger said.

“They were really excited about not only building the house but it also having an impact on the community,” Bollinger said.

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The house was put on land donated by Michigan City, said Jordan Stanfill, CEO of Housing Opportunities. In subsequent years, houses built at CHS will be put on similar properties in the city.

The house that once stood at the site of the new home had been condemned and was razed a few months ago, Stanfill said.

The agency intends to sell the home to a low-income family. Housing Opportunities’ services include providing education for new buyers as well as making housing available.

Tom Garzella, building trades instructor at Chesterton High School, said building the home at the school meant more students could be involved and eliminated the need to transport students to a worksite each day.

The house was built on a makeshift foundation.

"We built the entire house off of cinder blocks. It’s bizarre to think about,” said Max Sleight, of Gary’s Miller neighborhood. Sleight graduated in May.

Fellow student Chad Kamaski, of Chesterton, said he wants to continue building houses.

“I job-placed every one of the students that wanted a job in the trades,” Garzella said. “I have more skilled trades jobs than I have students.”

The next house built by Chesterton students will be moved to Michigan City in March, Garzella said.

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