Community, Local, Park Forest, Schools

Work Underway on Latest SSTI Rehab House

grey house with a truck backed into the driveway, the latest Park Forest rehab project
With a new roof and asbestos and mold abatement complete, work on the interior of 76 Winslow Street has started. (Photo John Hudzik)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Work has begun on the latest Park Forest rehab project undertaken by the South Suburban Trades Initiative (SSTI) at 76 Winslow Street. When finished next year, the three-bedroom, two-full-bath home will showcase a top-to-bottom transformation into one of the village’s most up-to-date and energy-efficient homes.

The SSTI program provides students from the South Suburban College (SSC) Building Construction Technology program and the Prairie State HVAC training curriculum the chance to perform much of the reconstruction as part of their coursework.

In addition, local trade unions use the rehab project as a training opportunity for their new members. To date, the Chicagoland Roofers & Waterproofers – Local 11 replaced the roof, and Plumbers Union Local 130 worked on updating the old cast iron drain that collapsed. The Sprinkler Fitters Local 281 will also install the piping necessary for a sprinkler system required by village code.

Before the students began their work in August, the house had a full mold and asbestos abatement treatment to provide a safe working environment.

The home will also feature a large family room overlooking the backyard and a small four-season room behind the garage. The old dining room has been converted to a utility room where an energy efficient furnace, water tanks, washer, and dryer will be placed. The new kitchen will have a large peninsula island separating the cooking area from the living room. All the windows and doors in the home have already been replaced.

a room with no plasterboard under construction with tools in the foreground, the latest Park Forest rehab project
The house will feature a large family room overlooking the backyard. (Photo John Hudzik)

According to David Tracy, the Park Forest Project Manager, the house has been vacant for ten years and needed major work just to begin the project. In addition to the roof and sewer repairs, the yard was overgrown with trees that had to be removed. That work has now been completed, and the large backyard is ready for use by a new occupant.

back of a house with no siding
The backyard of the house had been overgrown during the ten years it was vacant. (Photo John Hudzik)

The SSTI program began in Park Forest in 2018, and recent houses completed have sold quickly above their original asking prices. A recent project at 117 Wilson sold last year for $225,000, and the most recent project at 74 Marquette Street was placed under contract this past week for $162,000 — $4,000 above the initial asking price.

grey house with a for sale sign in front
The previous SSTI rehab house at 74 Marquette Street is under contract for $162,000. (Photo John Hudzik)

In an effort to interest students in the trades, the program hosted students from Rich, Bloom, and Bremen high schools at the house on Tuesday, October 25. Tracy and Eugene Damiani, the SSC Program Coordinator, spoke to the students about the SSTI program as well as the opportunity to gain experience in a wide array of trades as part of the SSC program.

a group of students standing in an unfinished house
Students from local high schools heard from representatives from the village, SSC, the Roofers Union, and the Plumbers Union about careers in the trades. (Photo John Hudzik)

The students also heard from representatives of both the Plumbers Union and the Roofers & Waterproofing Union, who explained what careers in those fields entailed, how long the training program was, and the income they could expect to earn. While not diminishing the value of a college education, both union representatives explained that college is not for everyone and that a good living can be made by choosing a career in the trades.

Three workers standing around a kneeling fourth person looking at an open wall.
Abby Antoniazzi (kneeling center) from South Suburban College instructs students on electric conduit placement. (Photo John Hudzik)

Tracy estimates that the rehab work will be completed by next May, at which time the house will be placed on the market. While details are not yet finalized, the Village is planning a new rehab project for next Fall.