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Habitat for Humanity of the Northwoods breaks ground on 24th home with the help of Rhinelander High School students

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Katie Thoresen
Habitat for Humanity and those supporting the latest build break ground on the new house in Rhinelander Tuesday.

With the dip of a shovel, Habitat for Humanity broke ground on its 24th home in the Northwoods.

The home designed by Musson Brothers is being built on an empty lot on Thayer Street just north of downtown Rhinelander.

Habitat Executive Director Dave Havel says it will help fill a need for affordable housing in the community.

“Our mission is to help needy families with affordable housing. That is a big challenge in today’s market where prices have escalated so much,” said Havel. “We get lots of volunteer help. We get lots of donated services and, this year especially, we have expanded collaboration support with different materials and services and what not. Anything we can do to lower the price of the home so that a family can afford to be here and live in something decent.”

Will Losch is hoping it will fill another need in the Northwoods community, getting more people into trade.

He’s the Tech Ed teacher at Rhinelander High School. His senior students will be building the house as part of their capstone class.

“It’s great life skills. These are future tradesmen, this class we don’t have any tradeswomen this year in the class. I hope they’re future business owners here in Rhinelander or Oneida County or they can take a skill and go anywhere in the country. Whether they’re working for somebody else or they’re future small business owners, I believe in learning by doing,” said Losch.

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Katie Thoresen
The site of the 24th Habitat for Humanity home in the Northwoods.

Havel says local students have been involved in Habitat builds in the past, but never to this extent.

“This is going to be the first time where the kids are actually coming to our building site. They’re going to be working on the site, not just on the school grounds. We’re very excited about it,” he said.

Braden Mork is one of the students who will be building the house.

“I’m definitely looking into getting into a trade, I’m not really sure which one. But it’s kind of a cool thing. We get to do something cool for the community and it’s sweet to learn as we do it,” said Mork.

Losch is excited for these students to learn.

They’ll be working on the house throughout the school year with the goal of having it complete in May.

“They’re good workers. They take pride in their work. They’re excited to get at it. We’ve got a great team with Jeff [Musson] and the Habitat Team behind us and to guide us through parts of that as well,” said Losch.

Habitat for Humanity doesn’t yet have a family lined up to move into the house.

Havel says they’ll be looking over the next year for a family that fits this home.

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