Lincoln Northeast home building project comes full circle

By: Bill Schammert

For one lone-time Lincoln Northeast instructor, the best teaching moments come outside the school’s walls. Now, after two decades, that outdoor classroom has come full circle.

“I’m glad they built it,” Dustin Baxter, LNE senior, said. “If they hadn’t, I might not be where I’m at today.”

Bob Freese, the Northeast High School industrial technology chair, has been teaching a residential construction class since 1995. Starting in September, every year, he and about a dozen students spend the next two semesters building a home in partnership with the Lincoln Housing Authority.

In two decades, he and his students have built 20 homes. The second one went to Baxter’s family. This year, Baxter wanted to return the favor.

“It just shows that good things can happen to people, you just have to be willing to work for it,” Baxter said.

For Freese, it’s all about giving the kids exposure to the construction field, and few experience can be more rewarding.

“I’ve seen so many students who end up in construction,” he said. “Many even go on to work and start their own construction businesses.”

As for Baxter, he says he plans to attend Southeast Community College in the fall and enter its welding program.