The Botetourt Education Foundation, in partnership with the Botetourt Technical Education Center (BTEC), is excited to announce the next project in our joint initiative to provide hands-on experience to students in the Building Trades program across all facets of home construction. Led by Phillip Simmons, head of the BTEC program and Class A contractor, students will construct a new home in the Santillane development in Fincastle. Thanks to a loan from The Bank of Fincastle, the Foundation has purchased the lot and will have access to construction funds allowing for the completion of the house project within eighteen to twenty-four months. The students’ efforts will be supported by many local individuals and businesses, which are listed on our sponsorship page on this website.

Once completed, the house will be made available for public purchase, either through a real estate listing or public auction. Profits derived from the sale of the house will be used to support technical education activities and scholarships for Botetourt County students.

About Books2bricks:

The Books2bricks initiative was created in partnership with the Botetourt Education Foundation, the Botetourt County Public Schools Technical Education Center and the center’s Building Trades program, a two (2) year program that prepares students for entry-level employment in the construction industry and/or continued training through post-secondary education programs at the apprentice, associates, or baccalaureate level.

Students learn a diverse range of hands on skills including:

  • Brick and block masonry from laborer to mason job duties
  • Carpentry including footings to the finished structure
  • Electrical work including safety aspects, installing conductors and devices and wiring of main panels for residential wiring
  • Plumbing skills which include DWV piping, water piping and overall plumbing operations

Participating students engage in planning, building code review and compliance and project management related to Residential home building. Students also have the opportunity to compete at district, state and national levels in any trade or a combination of the trades through the student organization SkillsUSA. As a component of the program, students will receive a 10hour OSHA Construction industry card and take ICC certification testing.

For more information or to learn about ways to get involved, please contact Shawn Sparks, Principal, Botetourt Technical Education Center, at

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