After another morning and afternoon at day care, the 6-year-old twin boys always are eager to go home.

But this home has no furniture, no drywall, no carpet and not even a front door. Yet.

The structure they are so eager to see every day isn’t their current house, but the makings of what soon will be, with the help of a new coordination between the McPherson Housing Coalition and McPherson High School construction technology program.


After another morning and afternoon at day care, the 6-year-old twin boys always are eager to go home.
But this home has no furniture, no drywall, no carpet and not even a front door. Yet.
The structure they are so eager to see every day isn’t their current house, but the makings of what soon will be, with the help of a new coordination between the McPherson Housing Coalition and McPherson High School construction technology program.
The two entities worked together this year in an unprecedented way to find a family and house fit, allowing Angela Durham and her four boys to be part of the construction process, which benefits all parities involved.
Chris Goodson, McPherson Housing Coalition executive director, initiated the partnership this summer.
“I knew other places in Kansas were doing something similar to this,” she said. “I felt like it would be a really good match for us and them. It made sense to me.”
Goodson contacted those in charge of the annually built carpentry house at McPherson High School, who were quick to agree. The Durhams were then able to claim the home, with the help of donations from local businesses, with the understanding of paying funds back over time.
Because the construction crew, those in the MHS construction technology program, know the end owners this time around, they are able to heed the desires of the future occupants and work around their budget.
“It's so awesome to watch the whole thing come to life,” Goodson said. “It’s really fun watching the kids build this house. It’s really rewarding to be able to help. I love it.”
The construction is done behind the school by about 70 students in six different classes, led by Mike Swinehart, carpentry teacher at MHS.
In the past, the carpentry students have built houses without knowing who will occupy it. This new twist had added an element of purpose for the students involved in the program's 44th house.
“It’s been outstanding,” he said. “It’s not just a project now. It has a little different meaning. Overall, the students feel a little more buy into it. It’s a sense of ownership and pride.”
They began construction in September and aspire to finish in late April when the school does its annual work day.
Throughout this time, Angie Durham has taken many pictures of her young twin boys inspecting the house, which they ask to do every day. Many of those snapshots are on the McPherson Housing Coalition’s Facebook page.
“It’s kind of a joke; They’re 6-and-a-half-year-old foremans,” she said, adding Swinehart had given them hard hats to solidify their positions. “They would probably run the whole process if they had a say in it.”
Her sons’ enthusiasm “kind of brings a tear to my eye,” she said.
She and her family have been involved in the decision making since the beginning, choosing floor plans, cabinets and other items. As they make those selections, they’re also being educated on how to make the house more affordable.
“How often do you get a chance like that, especially as a single parent?” she said. “It’s fun, but a little bit stressful.”
But this housing opportunity alleviated stresses Angela had experienced in looking elsewhere. Once she knew she had an affordable house for her family, she was relieved.
“It was a very big blessing to me,” she said.
Angela works 40 or more hours per week and attends school full time.
“I needed that extra support to buy a house and call it mine,” she said. “My kids need that place to come home to.”
When the house is completed and moved to Barber Street, Angela and her four boys will have a five-bedroom, three-bath, 2,128-square-foot home, including a basement completed by Angela’s father.
“It’s just a good feeling, to know you’re getting something that’s going to be yours,” she said.