UNCC Habitat chapter works on its 1st build

10/18/2013 12:00 AM

10/15/2013 1:56 PM

Nhoell Inthavong, president of the UNC Charlotte Habitat for Humanity chapter’s executive board, was inside the house, climbing among the roof trusses as she nailed boards to them. Above the 20-year-old’s head the majority of the other 20 student volunteers were nailing shingles on the roof of the first annual on-campus build for the charity.

The build started at the corner of University City Boulevard and John Kirk Drive on Oct. 1; when approximately 50 percent of the house was completed. It was moved to its permanent location – 1312 Onyx St. – on Oct. 14.

Most of the exterior work was done on campus; the house was built on metal beams so that it could be moved to the site where the interiors would be finished.

Stephanie Peters, co-special events coordinator of the campus chapter, said the home, which has a floor plan of 897 square feet, was projected to be finished within eight working days of the move.

The 170 student volunteers who worked on the house received a lot of support from the community. Members of the campus chapter raised more than $60,000. Student fundraising activities raised $20,000 and almost $10,000 was provided by the UNC Charlotte Alumni Association.

The early efforts were matched by a group of UNCC alumni, parents and friends through a challenge grant worth $29,000 that was led by Joe Price (Class of 1983), who is a former Bank of America executive, a member of the Habitat for Humanity international board of directors and the University Board of Trustees.

The whirring of saws and banging of hammers echoed across campus for two weeks as the house was erected from wood, nails and the sweat of the workers. Joining the students were 90 additional volunteers, including AmeriCorps, alumni, faculty and staff from the university and employees from corporate sponsors Piedmont Natural Gas and Xerox.

Peters said the Habitat chapter hopes there will be more builds in the future, with this being the first year of an annual tradition. The “Homecoming Build” was scheduled in conjunction with the UNCC homecoming football game.

With the help of co-organizer Maggie Chahoud, Peters felt they were thorough enough in their early planning that the community fully embraced the idea.

“From this event, I learned how willing people are to help one another on such a large-scale project,” said Peters. “I believe that since we presented ourselves with a clear goal in mind, with a timeline of how we were going to complete everything, everyone involved believed this was a worthwhile project. I think we were surprised with how many people this reached.”

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