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Breaking Ground on Habitat Home

Submitted by on August 11, 2009 – 8:52 pmNo Comment

Habitat for Humanity Groundbreaking

Helping to break the ground on a new Habitat for Humanity Home are Chip Boring (left), president, Highlands County Habitat for Humanity, Carlos Maldonado, Alina Maldonado, Dr. Leana Revell, and David Leidel.

South Florida Community College drafting and design students are helping a local family realize the dream of owning a home.

On Aug. 6, the first shovels of dirt were turned at a groundbreaking ceremony organized by Highlands County Habitat for Humanity at the home site on Recreation Drive in Sebring.

The home represents a milestone for affordable housing and the unique partnership that has developed between SFCC and Habitat. A year ago, Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Habitat chapter, approached Dr. Norm Stephens about using the college’s drafting students to help redesign the standard home that Habitat builds throughout the country. Under the direction of Jacobson and SFCC drafting instructor Tanna Markel, the students came up with the basic design for Habitat’s first “green” home, which is eligible for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDS) certification for energy efficiency.

“They took the vision we gave then and through their innovativeness, creativity, and tenacity, redesigned the Habitat for Humanity House for the first time, certainly in the 20 years we’ve been building in Highlands County,” Jacobson said. “I don’t think there will be another house that looks like this one made this way anywhere in America. The perceptions of what affordable housing can look like will change forever.”

The three-bedroom, two-bath home, with its split plan design and cathedral ceilings, is being constructed for Carlos and Alina Maldonado. The financial sponsor is the Thakkar Foundation Inc. When it is finished, a second house of the same design will be constructed beside it.

SFCC students will continue the learning process by participating in the construction of the home over the next four months. Dr. Leana Revell, vice president, SFCC Educational and Student Services, said one of the students recently talked to her about the meaning he had gained from the experience.

“This is what I call authentic learning,” Dr. Revell said. “The students often draw things out and use their great ideas, when you see those ideas put to work in your community and understand the contributions you can make in your profession, it’s a much deeper learning than we typically see. We have been exceptionally blessed in getting students involved and being a part of this partnership.” 

Also representing SFCC at the groundbreaking were Kevin Brown, dean, Division of Applied Sciences and Technologies, and David Leidel, chair, SFCC District Board of Trustees.

Drafting students who contributed to the design are Christopher Brown, Closere Damis II, Nicholas Knarr, Delano McFarlane, Rolny Michel, Frankie Rivera, and James Zingler.

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