Noblesville students designing Habitat home

Teacher Joe Toms instructs students as they design floor plans for a Noblesville home.
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High school students in Hamilton County are getting a jump start in leaving a lasting mark on their community.

Students at Noblesville High School are learning how to build homes from the ground up. But the design work is more than just classroom practice, one of the students' floor plans will be used to build a home nearby.

"It's real world, hands-on activity. They're just not doing it for a grade," said teacher Joe Toms.

Habitat for Humanity will use a floor plan from the class to build a home for a family in need.

Two years ago, a fire gutted a home in Noblesville. No one was hurt, but the house was never repaired and has been sitting vacant ever since. Habitat for Humanity of Hamilton County was able to acquire the property. It will eventually be knocked down, with construction on the student-designed home beginning in July.

Senior Jordan Thrasher says his classwork has taken on even more meaning.

"I mean, if I drop by that, I would be pretty proud about that. I'd be pointing that out to all my friends. 'Hey, look, I designed that,' you know?" Thrasher said.

Organizers have created additional incentive. The student who designs the chosen floor plan will be given a $1,000 scholarship.

"They're changing the dynamic of that neighborhood where they're building in. So they're building a stronger community. At Habitat, we like to say we're community builders. That's what these students are," said CEO Rhett Cecil.

"I've been thinking about going into an engineering field because of the classes they offer at the school and this class has made me think about architecture, too," said junior Isabelle Dittmar.