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Students build house for Native Hawaiian family through 'Model Home Project'

During a dedication ceremony in Hilo, a Native Hawaiian family received the keys to a new home that was custom built from the ground up by Hawai‘i Community College students during the past academic year.

The college, the family, and community partners dedicated the home in the Keaukaha area of Hilo on Thursday, May 12.

The home was built as part of Hawai‘i Community College’s “Model Home Project.” The Model Home Project was established in 1965, and this year students completed the 49th home constructed through the project.


Students in a variety of construction trades programs receive valuable hands-on experience each year by designing, building and landscaping the home.

Students in the college’s Architectural, Engineering and CAD Technologies program design the home; Carpentry students build the home; students in the Electrical Installation and Maintenance Technology program install the photovoltaic system; Diesel Mechanics students provide equipment maintenance; Agriculture students landscape the lot; and members of the Hawai‘i Life Styles program conduct the blessing ceremony.

The homes are built with many “green” features in keeping with the college’s commitment to sustainability. They come with a solar water heater system, a photovoltaic system, and many other features such as Energy Star qualified appliances, low v.o.c. paints, and more.

The Model Home Project is a partnership with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands acts as the developer and Hawai‘i CC provides the skilled labor force while educating students.

Since the program was founded, over 3,960 students in Hawai'i CC construction trades programs have benefited from hands-on experience through the Model Home Project.