Photo by Adam Caira
Troy Maxham stands in the doorway of the bottom half of the house he bought from the Barre Technical Center at Spaulding High School in Barre. Maxham, with help from his co-workers at Rogers Brothers Contractors, is moving the house to Vershire, where he says he plans to “live happily” in it with his wife, Melissa, and two daughters.
BARRE — An unfinished two-story house that was built by students in the Barre Technical Center’s building trades program a decade ago and, until last fall, had served as a “living classroom” for those who came after them, is finally being moved off campus.
With a lot of help from his friends, Troy Maxham, who purchased the modular house from the technical center for $2,750, is moving it to land he owns in Vershire.
Over the course of what he predicts will be an extremely hectic three weeks, Maxham, 24, plans to transform the house, which was unfinished by design, into a cozy home for his growing young family.
“I have my work cut out for me,” Maxham said Tuesday during the briefest of breaks in a project that is just getting started.
Moving the house might be the easy part for Maxham, who works for Rogers Brothers, a Barre contractor that specializes in moving houses.
“We do this stuff all the time,” he said. “I figured: ‘Why not do one for myself?’”
Maxham had the land, the house was suitably sized and in good condition, the seller was motivated, and the price was right.
“I’m real satisfied,” he said, before turning his attention back to moving the bottom floor of the house, which was built in five sections. The top floor is already waiting in Vershire, and an excavator will soon be on the way.
Maxham has a basement to dig, a foundation to pour, and a house to set and reassemble before tackling interior renovations. The building features one open, unfinished ground-floor space that was used as a classroom by students in Steve Coultas’ building trades program.
“It will take … three weeks tops,” Maxham said. “It’ll be all done, wired, plumbed and Sheetrocked.”
By this time next month, Maxham said, he’ll be living in the house with his wife, Melissa, and their two daughters, Isabella, 4, and Lillian, 3.
The house, which for many years served as both a classroom and a template for other finished homes that Coultas’ students have built, was relegated to serving as storage space due to safety-related concerns that surfaced last year.
The problem stemmed from a state inspector’s conclusion that students not be allowed into the building’s makeshift basement — a concrete bunker that once served as a slurry pit for the technical center’s now-defunct stone trades program. That bunker was the preferred place for building trades students to gather in the event of a schoolwide lockdown. The inspector’s report prompted school officials, some of whom had expressed earlier concerns about the condition and appearance of the house, to look for a buyer.
Enter Maxham, who was undaunted by the expense of moving the house and unconcerned by its unfinished interior.
“In three weeks it’s going to be all new everything,” he said.
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