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CATA students design Habitat for Humanity community

Union County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Mike Reese, at left, views house plans designed by CATA students Gabe Tyson, (center), AJ Bodick (at right) and Amber Sullivan (not pictured). Each house plan was drawn taking into consideration the size and dimensions of the lot on which it will be built.

Thanks to the efforts of three students from Central Academy of Technology and the Arts (CATA), a Habitat for Humanity community in Marshville will be built with a variety of house plans.
CATA seniors Gabe Tyson, 18, AJ Bodick, 18, and Amber Sullivan, 18, took on the challenge of designing a Habitat for Humanity community as their final senior project in their Engineering, Design and Development (EDD) class. In that class, they designed eight different house plans.
“The level of these three students is outstanding,” said their teacher Sonny Tomberlin. “They have lived this project. These houses are designed to have a five-star house energy rating, which will result in reduced power bills.”
The plans will build homes on 15 lots in the Gulf Bay Estates on Brewer Street in Marshville. They range in size from 1,300 to 1,400 square-feet and feature three and four-bedroom homes. Some of the house plans are for handicapped accessible homes.
“We had to do research on the handicapped aspects of the houses, including building a wheelchair ramp, a turning radius of five feet in each room and a bathroom that is handicapped accessible,” Gabe said.
The design work began November of 2009 and culminated this past spring. Construction is slated for the fall. The goal, Tomberlin said, will be to enhance the aesthetics of the Marshville Habitat community by not having the same two or three home styles, which has been the case for the past five or six years.
Students met on several occasions with Union County Habitat for Humanity’s Executive Director Mike Reese, and presented their designs for consideration. Reese worked with the students, advising on any adjustments that needed to be made.
“It saves us money not to have a professional draw up the plans,” he said. “Building a house for somebody, rather than just doing a senior project, has been so hands-on for these students. And it will be neat having those kids standing on the site when we have the homes’ dedications and when we hand the keys over on a house they helped design.”
Students made site visits to gather information prior to designing the plans. “They gathered soil for testing in order to determine what type of concrete footings for the house and they recorded the locations of underground and overhead utilities,” Tomberlin said. “They did everything a civil engineer and architect would do.”
Reese said visiting the sites also made it possible to design an appropriate style of house that fit the size of the lot. “They looked at the layout and determined which houses would work on what lots.”
Gabe said not only was the experience a great learning tool, but it was also an opportunity to help those in need of affordable housing. “I think it’s going to be amazing that we learned how to design them; that they’re actually going to be built; and it’s for a good cause, too. I think it will be very cool to see it all the way through.”
“I never really thought that I would be able to design a house that would actually be built,” Amber said. “It’s been my dream since I was 5-years-old to be an architect. I want to walk through them when they’re built. I can finally say, ‘There’s a house out there that I’ve designed and I was only 18.’ That’s pretty cool.”
Classes at CATA that prepared students for the challenge included Drafting I, Engineering Design, the Principals of Engineering, Digital Electronics, Aerospace Engineering, Civil Engineering and Architecture, Computer Integrated Manufacturing and finally Engineering, Design and Development.
CATA’s National Honor Society will be working on the construction of the homes, and Gage, who is part of that group, said he plans to be part of the work.

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Jun 11, 2010 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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