Three Pennsylvania College of Technology students are taking on the roles of contractors, investors and landlords for a blighted First Avenue property.
The trio of construction and design technologies majors - Nathan Scott, Alex Eckerd and Mike Leventhal - are working together to renovate a three-apartment home at 686, 688 and 690 First Ave. that was known as one of the most run-down properties in the city, according to Mayor Gabriel J. Campana.
Scott, a Connecticut native, said he remembers that the home reeked of disgusting odors and squirrels shared space with occasional squatters.
From left, Mike Leventhal, Nathan Scott and Alex Eckerd stand in front of the First Avenue property they are renovating.
His hope is to turn the property back into a livable, affordable space for renters.
"We took on this task really in the sole purpose of learning and, in the process, realized we were bettering the city of Williamsport," Scott said.
Scott's and Eckerd's parents chipped in the $25,000 to buy the home in August, complete with graffiti and crumbling brick work. The partners said the sweat equity they put into the renovation will be well worth the effort.
"There's a lot of room to make a profit off of it," Scott said.
While working in between classes and on the weekends, the students tore down a deteriorating wrap-around porch and began gutting outdated electrical and plumbing services inside the structure, which was built in 1908.
Scott said friends and fellow classmates are learning practical skills while helping with the renovation project.
Eckerd, who is from the Lancaster area, and Leventhal, of the Philadelphia area, along with Scott, said their eventual goal is to sell the property after they complete school at Penn College.
"We figured it was a good opportunity when we were in school to make a little money and get some experience while learning," Eckerd said.
Campana said the students' efforts go a long way in helping fix an eyesore.
"It makes me feel good about the future when three young college students are able to take this on," he said.