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Western Hills, Hartford (jsonline)

Sometimes wood, nails, brick and mortar build more than houses. In the Western Hills development in Hartford, the current construction project is building trade skills, life skills and futures. This is the 21st year the Rotary Club of Hartford has partnered with Hartford Union High School to build its VISION house — Vocation Instruction Supporting Individual Occupational Needs.

Since 1992, the Hartford Rotary Foundation has funded the project securing lots, building supplies and professional trades people. HUHS supplies the students from carpentry, mechanical, interior design and landscape classes. The building project supplies real life work experiences for students. The partnership between a Rotary Club and high school in a building project of this scale is uncommon, said John Lonergan, a tech education teacher at HUHS.

Lonergan coordinates the project on the school’s side. “Initially the project was supposed to be students fixing up homes to raise money for scholarships,” he said. “But that never materialized.”

The Rotary Club takes all the financial risk from securing a loan to selling the home once it’s finished. Lonergan has been a teacher for 35 years and has been involved in VISION project for 11 years.

Lonergan teaches two classes on …

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