‘Makeover' family has hugs for neighborhood

They wouldn't let reporters in to see – after all, one must save some surprises for TV – but the King family reported Tuesday their new “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” house was airy, comfy and generally divine.

“It's open and warm,” said Alisha King, one day after series host Ty Pennington showed her the new homestead for her family at 4214 Sudbury Road. “It makes you want to be home.”

“Your house was built with a lot of love,” lead builder Rick Merlini told the family.

“There was a lot of sweat, too,” added his partner Ed Estridge of JED Development, referring to the unrelenting 90-degree days during the build.

Community gifts continued to arrive for the family Tuesday. At a meeting outside the house, Pfeiffer University president Chuck Ambrose presented all five members of the family – both parents and their three children – tuition-free scholarships to the Misenheimer-based school, which has a satellite campus in Charlotte.

Curtis and Alisha King are trying to finish their undergraduate degrees. Their oldest son, Justin, 19, is already planning to attend Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, Calif., and play football.

Also, the family will be receiving about $35,000 in donations from community fundraisers, Merlini said.

Their new house features an open-space style for gatherings and a second-floor art studio with a porch for Curtis King. He estimated their home day care, which used to be in a converted garage and is licensed for up to 12 children, has doubled in size.

Construction equipment and production trucks began pulling out of Sudbury Road on Tuesday, and crews were cleaning up the mess left behind. Producers of the ABC series say neighbors' yards, which were tromped flat by spectators, would be repaired.

“I know my neighbors gave a tremendous amount of support,” Alisha King said. “Just walking through, I know it was a sacrifice for them. I want to go to every door and give them a hug.”

For the rest of the week, the Kings plan to decompress and enjoy their new home. Come Monday, Alisha King said, her day care will be back in business.