Students in the construction trades course work on the front door of the house in January 2023

The Panther Foundation has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Installed Building Products Foundation to support the Construction Trades course at Spring Lake Park High School. Students in the course are building a house that will move into the community later this spring.

The grant comes from the Installed Building Products Foundation, funded by Installed Building Products, one of the nation's largest new residential insulation installers. The foundation serves its employees – more than 10,000 across more than 200 locations across the U.S. – and the communities where they live by awarding funds to eligible nonprofits to provide safe housing for those in need.

The grant money will support Spring Lake Park High School’s construction trades course. Students in the course are currently building a single-family home in the high school parking lot. When the home is finished at the end of the school year, it will be moved to a lot in the community.

“This grant supports students in gaining real-world skills and experience building a home and exploring career paths in the trades,” says Eric Van Brocklin, pathways program lead. “The resulting product will provide quality, affordable shelter for a family in our community.”

The construction trades course is part of the high school’s Career and College Pathways programming in which students explore potential career paths as they gain real skills and experience. Construction trades is part of the Technology, Engineering and Design pathway. The school has two other pathways – Health and Human Services and Business and Entrepreneurship – that each represent a need for future jobs and community impact.

“Having a safe, comfortable place to call home at the end of the day is at the heart of what IBP does,” said IBP Foundation President Kelly Clifford Riehl. “Forming a partnership with the Panther Foundation and Spring Lake Park Schools allows us to support an incredible organization that is doing amazing work for their community.”

Construction is on track for the house. Students are currently working to install the kitchen and bathroom cabinets and interior doors throughout the home. They recently finished applying multiple coats of primer and paint to all the walls. With the continued support of Installed Building Solutions, Inc and its employees, each new step in the process has been seamless. 

“We’re grateful for the grant support from Installed Building Products and Installed Building Solutions, Inc for the project support overall,” says Eric. “We also couldn’t do this without Scott Wicklund, teacher of the Construction Trades course, who has continued his outstanding work keeping this project on track for a timely finish. We can’t wait to see the finished house become a home for a local family.”