ANDOVER, Minn. (WCCO) — On the corner of Bluebird Street and Andover Boulevard in Andover sits a new home awaiting a new family.

The corner lot had long been a neighborhood eyesore in desperate need of work, but when Anoka County’s housing and redevelopment authority acquired the lot under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), it quickly became clear the property was too far gone to fix. That’s when a partnership was struck with architect design students at Anoka Technical College.

“The county came to us and said we want a three-bedroom house, compact in size,” recalls instructor Jay Boyle, who teaches architecture design at the college.

Boyle and his students have previously done remodeling design work for the revitalization program. But this time would be different. They were being asked to design an energy efficient home to replace the decaying property. That’s what intrigued Boyle, who relished the opportunity to give his students real-world experience.

“I said it’s a great idea and opportunity, because it’s not very often that students get to see something built that they’ve drawn,” Boyle said. “Most of our projects are theoretical.”

The class eventually designed a 2,000 square-foot, two-story, three-bedroom home. But it also had to meet the county’s requirements as an energy efficient property utilizing the latest in green building technologies.
Soon, blueprints were in the hand of a builder, who would make the concept a reality.

“This is the first new construction with our funding,” says Kristina Hayes with Anoka County’s Community Development.

The county administers pay for the revitalization of foreclosed and distressed properties through a federal NSP. NSP provides federal funding to help municipalities purchase distressed properties and refurbish them into safe and affordable housing.

The Andover property made those dollars stretch further by employing the help of architecture students at Anoka Technical College. The group of students customized several home designs with energy efficiency in mind. It was then up to the county to select the design for construction.

From basement walls to high efficiency appliances, windows and recycled materials in the flooring, the house is now complete and on the market.

“We’re limited in funding with all the stuff required to do, so it’s nice to have this,” Hayes said. “[The students] benefit, we benefit from it.”


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