UPPER MT. BETHEL TWP., Pa. -

At the Career Institute of Technology (CIT) in Forks Township, the students are also home-builders.

Through a program dating back to the 1960s, students enrolled in the school's masonry, carpentry, electrical, building/property maintenance and HVAC/plumbing programs have been building entire homes, which are sold upon their completion.

CIT is looking to continue this program by proposing the purchase of three vacant lots in Forks Township at a total cost of $186,000.

During Monday night's Bangor Area School Board work session meeting, CIT Administrative Director Ronald R. Roth asked the board to sign off on the property purchases. CIT, which serves Bangor and four other Northampton County school districts, must receive the approval of each participating district to purchase property.

The Bangor Area School Board agreed to consider a resolution approving the property purchase during its next regular meeting on Monday, Oct. 22.

To date, two of the five participating districts have signed off on the proposed property deal, Roth said.

Only one Bangor Area School Board member commented on the proposal during Monday night's meeting.

Board member Toni Lynch said he is concerned that CIT is not pursuing other lots that are available for free in surrounding communities. "I find it incomprehensible to pay that much for a building lot," he said of the $62,000 cost for each lot.

Roth said the three lots being sought are located only four miles from the school, near the Forks Township-Easton border on George Street.

Lynch also raised questions over what he perceives to be "obsolete principles" being used in construction-related programs, which he said is occurring at tech schools in general.

Roth said CIT must follow specific curriculum guidelines set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. He said the school, as necessary, works to expand upon the state-set curriculum.

Roth noted that more than 20 homes have been built by students since the 1960s. The homes, he said, are almost entirely built by the students, except for certain items that are contracted out such as the pouring of the foundation. Each home takes about two years to complete.

"For the rest of their lives, these students can drive by and say, 'I built that home,'" Roth said. "The home-building experience provides students with real-life work; they're learning by doing."

Each home is sold. "The main goal of the sale is to at least recoup the cost of materials," Roth stated. "Some of the sales generate more than the cost of materials, and some recoup a little less than the cost of materials."

The most recent home built by students, located on Church Lane in Forks Township, is scheduled to be auctioned in December, Roth said.