Home built by Scottsdale High students on the market

This 1,965-square-foot home located in northern Scottsdale was built by 25 Scottsdale Vocational Technical School students in 1981. It is now for sale.

About two miles down Jomax Road, heading west from Scottsdale Road, a three-bedroom, two-bath home sits on five acres of land owned by Mindy Mebus. 

Don’t be fooled by its seemingly average appearance, however, because it’s anything but.   

The 1,965-square-foot home is an important piece of Scottsdale High School history.

Back in 1981, Mebus’ mother, Betty Kermoade, purchased the home — built by 25 Scottsdale Vocational Technical School students — at an auction for $18,500. 

Kermoade found an ad about the auction in the Scottsdale Progress at the time; and while she didn’t have any intention of actually bidding on the completed shell, she walked away the proud owner.

Thirty-eight years later, the house and the accompanying 5 acres of land are up for sale for $669,900.

It was a decision that was more than difficult for Mebus to make. 

“When they made the decision in ‘83 to tear [Scottsdale High School] down, I remember how heart-wrenching it was for everyone. And I think with every little piece of Scottsdale that we lose — and we keep losing more and more — it’s just sad,” Mebus said.

Mebus isn’t a Scottsdale High alumna; she graduated from Coronado High in 1982.

Her mother, however, always wanted Mebus to attend Scottsdale High.

“But I didn’t want to go because all my classmates were going to Coronado. We used to fight about it all the time because she really wanted me to go there. She thought it was a better school,” Mebus said with a laugh. 

In real estate sales at the time, Kermoade didn’t solely purchase the home because it was a smart investment move.

She did it because she was so invested in her community. 

“She knew a lot of people from Scottsdale High School,” Mebus said. “She was really tight with the community, and her and Barry Goldwater and Herb Drinkwater were really good friends.”

But when it did come to money, Kermoade believed in investing in land. She owns land throughout Arizona and in Florida. 

“She always said the best way to save money is through land, gold, silver and cash; those are the only ways to invest your money,” Mebus said. 

Mebus has had a few offers on the home since it was listed in October 2018, but none would keep the home intact — her ultimate goal.

“It just makes me so sad to think somebody might just come tear it down,” she said. 

 “I never grew up in this house, so I’d never lived in this house until I was an adult, but I know how Scottsdale is because I am from Scottsdale,” she continued. “I know how tight the community is and I know how upset all the [SHS] alumni were when it got torn down. That was so monumental.”

Mebus didn’t move into the home until 2014; she relocated from Yuma to care for Kermoade until she passed away in 2015.

Since then, Mebus has lived there alone full-time, spending around $55,000 on home renovations. 

Renovations include all-new flooring, paint and kitchen appliances; converting the garage into a family room, remodeling the guest bedroom, and adding an outdoor wood-paneled entertaining deck and porch coverings to both the front and back patio, among other additions and upgrades. 

Needless to say, the home now is a far cry from when Kermoade initially purchased the home in the early ’80s. 

The home construction project was the idea of vo-tech teacher at the time, Melvin Giesaking, who wanted to give his students a hands-on approach to learn the skills necessary in many of the phases of building. 

It took the vo-tech students two months to build the home on the school grounds at 75th Street and Indian School Road. 

And it took nearly as long for Kermoade to locate a mover who could transport the home in one piece to her five-acre property further north at 57th Street and Jomax Road.

Mebus, then 18, remembers that four-hour drive vividly, particularly the harrowing moment when the movers had to jack up the wheels on one side of the flatbed truck to avoid hitting a large, tilted saguaro near 64th Street and Jomax.

“I remember when they came to the saguaro and how freaked out my mom was and how nervous she was,” Mebus recalled. 

The home eventually made it in one piece, with the only evidence of the move being a stubborn crack in the ceiling still seen to this day.

When the house was set, it didn’t have flooring or paint, let alone cabinets in the kitchen. 

Later, in 1990, additional living space was added to the home, as well as a two-car garage with a rooftop viewing deck and front entry. 

Kermoade kept in touch with the students and Giesaking, and she hosted “a million parties” at the home, Mebus said.

“We roasted pigs in the ground,” she added. “She was such a personality. She knew so many people, and she just had so many community ties. It was incredible.”

Kermoade ultimately decided to sell the home because she couldn’t keep up with maintaining the land. 

She also didn’t want to burden her two sons with having to sell the home later.

“Because I am getting older, I’m concerned about my kids and I want to start putting stuff in order for them because my mom very much believed in putting things in order. When she passed away, she had everything in order,” Mebus said.

Before Kermoade passed away, Mebus’ youngest son would visit his grandmother frequently to help her around the house.

It’s now too painful for him to return, Mebus said.

“My oldest son will come and spend the night and we’ll work on projects. My youngest son won’t do that. He was just very, very close to her…When she died, it was just really hard,” she said.

Mebus will continue to show the house until she finds a buyer interested in keeping the home intact.

“It’s a great opportunity to snatch up this wonderful Scottsdale home with all its memories and incredible history. This story needs the live on,” she said.

For more information, call listing agents Dory and David Mawyer with Mawyer Realty Group at 480-650-6410.