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In a first, Butte Citizens for Preservation and Revitalization and Highlands College construction students teamed up to rebuild a homeowner’s roof as part of a pilot project.

It’s a win-win situation for all parties, including the senior homeowner who does not want to be identified.

“This is the first project we’re actually taking on together,” said Noorjahan Parwana, Butte CPR spokesperson.

CPR, a private nonprofit, is working with Butte-Silver Bow County and Highlands College to devise a strategic community enrichment program that helps fixed-income, senior homeowners who are unable to pay for repairs, said Parwana.

“We can help people in these positions. It’s expensive. If you’re not working and you’re elderly, we can set up this program," she said.

Fourteen Highlands students work under the watchful eye of instructor Bill Ryan, Highlands Trades and Technical Department chair. They have applied their roofing skills on a 100-year-old home, 681 S. Alabama St.

“We’re giving students hands-on experience in a real-world environment instead of a shop where the environment is perfect,” said Ryan.

The purpose is to help reduce the homeowners’ heating bills by repairing the roof.

In 2014, BSB adopted a Comprehensive Historic Preservation Plan that highlights threats to Butte’s historic buildings. But Butte CPR wants to repair housing for Butte’s economically disadvantaged and aging population as well.

What the partners learn from the experience will result in better strategic planning of community enrichment that benefits everyone and helps beautify regular neighborhoods.

“When you do that, your neighborhood is spruced up and other people do it, too,” said Parwana. “It’s not just the fancy big brick buildings that are important to our historic fabric.”

Parwana said Butte CPR plans fundraisers, too, for installing high-quality house siding materials, in keeping with the historic character of working-class neighborhoods.

As for the roofing project, Ryan and his crew plan to wrap up the project at least by early May. But they’re just getting started.

“If this works and they have the money and can identify other homes, we can help them,” said Ryan.

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Education Reporter who also covers features at The Montana Standard, I am a Cascade-Ulm-Great Falls native. Originally a sports writer, I wrote for the Missoulian and the Great Falls Tribune. I freelanced for The Seattle Times and other NW publications.

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