CHESTERVILLE — For years, Joe and Pam St. Pierre have struggled with a leaky roof, drafty rooms, black mold and a rusted-out holding tank in their home on Dutch Gap Road. This weekend all that will change.

They are moving into a house that is age-friendly, more energy-efficient and has a higher property value. Their old home will be torn down next week. Pam plans to grow vegetables there.

“It’s getting closer,” William “Bill” Crandall, program manager for housing services at Western Maine Community Action, said Thursday afternoon.

“One way or another, we’re moving. I’ll be able to breathe again,” Pam said. 

“It will be a whole new world,” Joe said.

When funding couldn’t be obtained to repair the elderly couple’s home, a collaborative effort was undertaken to build them a new one. A groundbreaking ceremony was held last December. A community celebration is planned.


The house is the first project in the Community Home Replacement Program. Western Maine Community Action, Mottram Architecture, Foster Career and Technical Education Center, Chretien Construction, Mathews Brothers Windows and Doors, Hammond Lumber and Maine Made worked on the project or donated materials.

Funding was provided through the John T. Gorman Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, Maine Community Foundation, Sandy River Charitable Trust, Franklin County Government and Skowhegan Savings.

Crandall said an article written by Portland columnist Bill Nemitz (whose wife works at the Maine Community Foundation) had been sent to 1,000 Community Action agencies across the nation. Many have asked for program details.

“We hoped this model could be carried across Maine. It’s going further. Pam and Joe knew it could help other people,” Crandall said.

Students in the Foster CTE Center building construction program built the house under the supervision of Mark Chretien, an alumnus of the program. At least three other alumni of Foster Tech programs participated.

“This was good. I’d like to see more kids getting into the construction field,” Chretien said.


“The students always had a smile on their faces,” Crandall said.

Youths from Mission at the Eastward volunteered. And Peter Thayer, WMCA home repair technician, volunteered his own time.

“Peter wanted it done right. The schoolkids were hard workers,” Joe said.

Students in the Foster CTE Center plumbing and heating program installed the plumbing.

Crandall said he hopes the St. Pierres can remain in their new home for years. The one-floor design will allow the couple to more easily age in place. 

A heat recovery ventilation system removes old air from the home and replaces it with fresh air. Crandall said about 80 percent of the heat will be removed first.


A heat pump is the primary source of heat. The new house is at least seven times more efficient. 

“It’s nice to know I can come home, be comfortable and afford it. I won’t have to worry. In the old house, one problem would get fixed and 10 more would come up. There will be less stress,” Pam said.

Crandall said the most stressful part is transitioning from the old home.

“We’ve gone through a lot of stuff and asked ourselves why do we have this. It’s been emotional,” Pam said.

Crandall said there were a lot of learning curves with the 21- by 38-foot home. It features a combined kitchen and dining room, one bedroom, a utility room, a bathroom and a crawl space. 

Pam showed off the large closet in the bedroom. She said the closets in the old house fell apart years ago.

Pam said they did the painting with some help from her daughter. Joe said he will continue to work after they move in.

“It’s been a long haul. I’m looking forward to it being quiet,” Pam said.

Joe and Pam St. Pierre stand in the walk-in shower at their new home on Dutch Gap Road in Chesterville.

Large windows, donated by Mathews Brothers Windows and Doors, bring light and an impression of additional space to the dining room in the new Chesterville  home of Joe and Pam St. Pierre.

A new home for Joe and Pam St. Pierre of Chesterville is nearing completion. The collaborative effort is the first of its kind. William “Bill” Crandall, program manager for housing services at Western Maine Community Action, at left and Mark Chretien, owner of Chretien Construction in Livermore, laugh during a recent tour of the new home.

Mark Chretien, an alumnus of the Foster Career and Technical Education Center Building Construction program, points to part of the heat recovery ventilation system being installed in the new home built collaboratively for Joe and Pam St. Pierre of Chesterville.

Joe and Pam St. Pierre of Chesterville are excited about this spacious closet in their new bedroom.

The heat recovery ventilation system is controlled by this machine in the utility room of Joe and Pam St. Pierre’s new home in Chesterville.

Joe and Pam St. Pierre are moving into their new home on the Dutch Gap Road in Chesterville this weekend. Next week their old one, seen here, will be torn down.

Comments are not available on this story.