In a unique collaborative effort with New Hanover County,Â studentsÂ at Cape Fear Community College are nearing completion of the ultimate home makeover. Over the past year,Â CFCCÂ studentsÂ have been working together to design and build a brand new home for a local resident.
Funded through a federal grant program to build homes to replace substandard housing for low income residents, the project began after New Hanover County reached out to the college to ask ifÂ studentsÂ wouldÂ beÂ interested inÂ participating in a joint project.
In 2010, New Hanover County was awarded a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Scattered Site Housing (SSH) grant from the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Community Assistance, the administrators of the Stateâ€™s CDBG Program. The purpose of the grant was to address the housing conditions of five low and very low income owner-occupied households that reside in the county.
According to Dennis Bordeaux from the county’s planning and inspections office, his staff was impressed with the quality of construction of theÂ CFCCÂ houses and for several years wanted to develop a working relationship with theCFCCÂ Vocational Department.
“One ofÂ our main focusesÂ within the building technology programs has been to promote service learning, identifyÂ new opportunities, andÂ to generally enrich the house building projects that haveÂ been a part of our college’sÂ tradition for over 25 years.Â Â Based on these efforts and our past success in building houses, New Hanover CountyÂ officialsÂ recognized how capable ourÂ studentsÂ and faculty are and they askedÂ that weÂ partner with them on this project,” said Jon Begue,Â lead instructor ofÂ CFCC’s construction management program.
While both theÂ CFCC’s carpentry and construction managementÂ studentsÂ have been building houses for years as part of their studies, but college officials saw this project as an opportunity to expand the scope to involve many moreÂ studentsÂ from different programs than in the past.
“Construction is a highly collaborative process. We wanted to use this project as a learning tool to expose as manyÂ studentsÂ from different programs as possible to demonstrate how their classroom skills apply to a real world projects,” Begue said.
So far, the project has involved the work of 80Â studentsÂ from nine different technical and vocational programs.Â StudentsÂ included architectural technology, interior design, construction management, carpentry, plumbing, electrical systems, HVAC, sustainability technology and landscape gardening.
CFCCÂ President Dr. Ted Spring has been impressed with the scope of theÂ studentÂ involvement with the project and the quality of learningÂ studentsÂ experience.
“In addition to the physical work completed, the soft skills ourÂ studentsÂ developed through cooperation, coordination and teamwork are impressive. This project epitomizes service learning at the highest level,” Dr. Spring said.
“CFCCÂ is one of the few colleges inÂ the state that take on projects of this magnitude and complete them successfully. Â It’s inspiring to see ourÂ studentsÂ and faculty setting a new Â standardÂ forÂ construction related training,” Spring said.
Some of the specific activitiesÂ CFCCÂ studentsÂ have or will have completed at the end of this project include:
- Architectural TechnologyÂ studentsÂ conductedÂ schematic design for the project
- Interior DesignÂ studentsÂ worked with the owner to help pick all finishes, fixtures, and appliances.
- Construction ManagementÂ studentsÂ took part in construction of the house as well as managed all phases of the project.
- CarpentryÂ studentsÂ took the lead role in construction of the house including installation of all framing, doors, windows, siding and trim.
- ElectricalÂ studentsÂ will have conductedÂ 100% of electrical installation activities.
- HVACÂ studentsÂ will have conducted 100% of mechanicalÂ installation activities.
- PlumbingÂ studentsÂ will have conducted 100% of plumbing installation activities.
- Sustainability TechnologyÂ studentsÂ performed energy audits on the home to measure energy efficiency.
- Landscape GardeningÂ studentsÂ designed a landscaping plan and will install all sod, trees, shrubs, and flower beds.
“It is aÂ challengingÂ real worldÂ construction scenario and theÂ studentsÂ have responded with confidence, determination, and skill,” Begue said.
The house is scheduled to be completed at the end of July.