On March 18th, Rise led two student tours for East Alton Elementary School, District #13 of the new Emerald Ridge affordable housing development in the once-distressed, former Defense Area of East Alton. Rise began developing 46 new single-family homes in East Alton, Illinois in March of 2014 in partnership with Southwestern Illinois Development Authority (SWIDA), the Village of East Alton and Madison County, IL. The students were led by Principle Stacey Egan and Teacher Beckie Harmon.
The tour consisted of some very inquisitive young students, parents who boldly braved the cold, teachers who led the way, and Mr. Bill Flynn as our guide through the nearly completed location. “Builder Bill” as he identified himself, is the Emerald Ridge project construction manager from Altman Charter Construction Co., a partner with Rise.
Mr. Flynn provided a brief presentation on the details of construction for the students, including all the varieties of artisans and craftspeople required to build an individual house, the average length of time to complete a house (7.7 working days), the materials and tools involved, and all manner of details that really engaged the students. Many tiny hands were raised, adorable and thoughtful questions asked, and plenty of fun was had by all.
The students made a circuit around the 3 blocks of homes in varying states of completion, and were able to visit a fully completed single family home much to their delight (and their parents’ as well, because it was a lot warmer on the inside). They were treated to high ceilings, vibrant paint jobs, and all the exciting nooks and crannies of a brand new living space.
The enthusiasm of the two tours subsequently went off the charts when the students were brought to the common green space in the center of the three blocks, which is slated to be freshly landscaped into a brand new park and green space. The biggest bonus for the kids: a new technicolor playground outside the Keasler Recreation Center, right next door.
Rise finished off with an informative video interview with East Alton Elementary School’s Early Childhood Principal, Ms. Stacey Egan. The school’s commitment to community development awareness, and instructing their own future community builders, is more than admirable.
This tour helps the school and the students meet the Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards, in particular, “comparing and contrasting”, by experiencing and learning about how homes are built and what the finished product looks like. The Emerald Ridge grand opening and ribbon cutting is scheduled for April 20, 2015.