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HabiTECH connects the university to community

January 31, 2013

Karl Puljak, director of the School of Architecture, addresses the crowd and the fourth-year architecture students at the HabiTECH13 groundbreaking ceremony Jan. 19. - Photo by Deepanjan Mukhopadhyay

 

ALICE ESSIEN
Staff Reporter

 

Equipped with 171 days, 12 fourth-year architecture students and the material to make a house, HabiTECH13 set out to complete its eighth community restoration home.

 

HabiTECH has collaborated with Habitat for Humanity and the Ruston community for the past seven years, producing affordable housing for families in need. HabiTECH aims to design and build a sustainable and efficient home that is based on integrity, service and trust.

 

HabiTECH13 will be the final restoration home project built by the School of Architecture, and this year’s home will be built to accommodate Peggy, Gary and Monte Albritton.

 

The Albritton family have been residents of the Ruston community for several generations.

 

Peggy Albritton, one of the recipients, said she is overjoyed with excitement and grateful for the experience.

 

“You can’t imagine how thankful I am for HabiTECH and these wonderful young students,” Peggy said. “What they are doing here for me and my family is truly a blessing.”

 

This year’s HabiTECH site will be located at 1427 Oakdale St., a residential lot owned by the Albritton family, where they had a home condemned and demolished four years ago.

 

“It’s been a long time coming,” Albritton said. “After years of ups and downs, my family and I will finally be able to return to what we’ve worked so hard for. It will truly be a homecoming.”

 

The home will cover 1,050 square feet and include three bedrooms, one and a half baths, kitchen, living, dining and utility rooms.

 

Samantha Raburn a senior architecture major, aids in thedesign and production of the home and spokesperson for the HabiTECH13.

 

“We strive to design and build the most suitable home for the Albritton family,” Raburn said. “While doing so, we will continue to advance our knowledge by crafting a home that exemplifies the importance of good architecture.”

 

Habitat for Humanity is known for being resourceful and responsible when it comes to matters of the environment.

 

Mary Alice Milford, a senior architecture major, also aids in the design and production of the home and serves as spokesperson.

 

“As architecture students, we are considerate of our environment,” Milford said. “We make sure that we utilize green technologies and sustainable strategies, such as solar panel energy and recycled raw materials provided by local manufacturers.”

 

Karl Puljak, director of the School of Architecture, and his staff will be doing everything in their power to make sure HabiTECH13 is complete on time and within the budget.

 

“This year we have a budget of $45,000, Puljak said. “The success of the project weighs heavily on cooperation of the design team and the family. It’ll be up to the Albritton family to make sure they put in the required 300 work hours and it’s the design team’s job to make sure deadlines are met to keep the project on schedule.”

 

Along with providing 300 hours of labor, the Albritton family will also be responsible for paying small monthly fees and property taxes on their new home.

 

Kevin Singh, an assistant professor of architecture, said the HabiTECH home’s low monthly fees give families financial relief.

 

“Although we would love to provide families in need with free homes, it’s just not feasible,” Singh said. “The low monthly payment is much cheaper than what you paid if you rented or mortgaged a property, so in the end the HabiTECH home still relieves financial burden.”

 

HabiTECH broke ground at the site of HabiTECH13 on Jan. 19. The house should be finished and ready for the Albrittons to move in by May 18.

 

Email comments to eae008@latech.edu.

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