Students in the Mentor School’s Construction Management Program are learning skills

Mentor Feb
Students from Mentor’s Construction Management Program have a house to sell.

By Mimi Vanderhaven

Instead of a square classroom with rows of desks and a blackboard, 24 hand-picked Mentor High School students have spent the school year with hammers in hand on a home renovation project through the Mentor Construction Management Program.

By May they will have completed a down-to-the-studs home makeover and be able to flip a three-bedroom home, which will fund the program for the following year. Each student is tasked with designing an area and bringing it to life—from the initial blueprints to the final coat of paint.

“Located in Mentor, this 2,000-square-foot Dutch colonial is the largest home we’ve renovated in the past five years,” says Joseph Glavan, who is coordinator of career technical education at Mentor High School.

“When searching for a home, our number one priority is ensuring it is able to meet the educational needs of the students,” he says. “We strive to provide an educational experience that enables students to learn the skills required to enter the construction management field.”

Each home renovation project has its own renovation challenges. “In this current home,” he says, “students were able to remove a two-story deck that was not in compliance with city codes and build a new one that not only meets all safety compliance requirements, but also provides a perfect spot for future homeowners to view the beautifully wooded backyard.”

In keeping with its mission of forging a path to viable careers, new this year, the effort includes a pre-apprenticeship program which leads into the carpentry apprenticeship. Seniors can earn up to two years’ credit for the carpenters’ union or 12 college credits.

The real-world skills gleaned over the course of the project have paid many dividends over the years. Joseph reports that past graduates have gone on to utilize their skills in a variety of pathways. Some have continued their education in construction management at four-year universities, and others have gone directly into the workforce, joining trade unions in electrical, plumbing, masonry and carpentry.

Another nice perk? Students have taken the skills developed and started their own businesses right in Lake County.

The Mentor School system educates 7,660 students from pre-K to 12th grade in eight elementary schools, three middle schools, one high school and one school for students with autism. For updates, visit