A new community under construction on the east side will include more than 50 new homes all considered "smart homes." And while the company building the homes is focused on the future, they're also saving a piece of the past.
The Schoolyard development by Pepper Viner Homes is going in on the lot where Wrightstown Elementary School once stood, near Wrightstown and Pantano. Each of the homes will be equipped with the latest technology.
"We build the internet in and we have the RTI home integration system so you'll be able to run many processes in your home from your smart phone," said Steve Crawford, a sales associate with Pepper Viner.
Each smart home comes with an iPad mini so you can control everything using an app. Other features include remote unlocking and locking of doors, built-in USB outlets and something called a Nest Learning Thermostat.
"It's an intuitive thermostat that learns how you live and will adjust temperatures for movement in the house and things like that," said Crawford.
Many of these features come standard in the homes but there are a few upgrades. Crawford says building homes with this technology is relatively new but he predicts it will one day be the norm.
"Eventually it's going to affect all home building," he said. "And all homes, it will just be what people expect."
Pepper Viner crews demolished Wrightstown Elementary school last summer to make way for these new homes after the school had sat empty for years.
"It was vandalized and anytime you have an empty vacant building that doesn't have security or utilities in, it has the potential of causing some trouble," said Crawford.
Neighbors that 9OYS spoke to when the school was demolished said they welcomed new development on the land but some were sad to see the nearly 100-year-old school come down.
"When we demolished the building, we saved a lot of the original bricks and during the demolition our construction department actually set the excess ones out by the roadway so if somebody came by and had ties to this property, they could have taken a brick with them," said Crawford.
He says the company plans to use the remaining bricks to build something in one of the common areas. They've floated around ideas like maybe a community library.
"It honors the site," said Crawford. "A school is a special place. It's where people learn. We all have memories of our elementary school and to be able to link that to these homeowners here I just think it's just a nice thing to do."
When finished, the development will include 56 homes. Crawford says they have already sold five. For more information about the community, click here.