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Originally published: 2014-05-15 17:21:12
Last modified: 2014-05-15 17:21:57

Home Builders to erect Habitat home in 30 days

by Anna Oakes

The High Country Home Builders Association will partner with Watauga County Habitat for Humanity this week to complete a home in one month for a local family of five.

The Builders Blitz kicks off this Saturday, May 17, at the site of the new home, located in Watauga Habitat's GreenWood neighborhood near Green Valley School.

Hot dogs and hamburgers will be served between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and any member of the public is welcome to stop by to observe or learn more between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Watauga Habitat Resource Development Director Patrick Morgan said.

"We appreciate the help from the Home Builders Association to allow us to get a new family in a home in such a good time frame," Morgan said.

The project marks the first time Watauga Habitat has participated in the Builders Blitz, which began in Raleigh in 2002 and is being held nationally for the third year. During this year's event, the nationwide project seeks to build and renovate nearly 260 homes,  thanks to skilled labor provided by local professional homebuilders and construction firms.

"We were interested in the excitement of building the house, (and) it's a good opportunity to show the community what we are out there doing," said Phil Washburn, who is helping lead the project for the Home Builders Association.

The High Country Home Builders Association is a trade association consisting of builder and associate member firms and a network of local builder associations and chapters throughout Western North Carolina's High Country. Through its programs and activities, the association encourages industry professionalism, provides a forum to consolidate industry views and serves as a proactive advocate for the building industry. Two hundred area builders and other businesses are listed in its directory.

Washburn said that association members are contributing to the Builders Blitz via donations of materials and labor.

"At least 90 percent of it is being performed or materials donated by our association," he said.

Watauga Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Alex Hooker said the Builders Blitz project has received approximately $50,000 in donated materials -- more than the $10,000 to $15,000 of materials typically donated for a Habitat home.

"(Local building suppliers) really stepped up," Hooker said. "Almost all of them came through to help us out."

The builders will spend at least six days a week working to construct the home. Hooker said the goal is to complete the home by June 14, with a dedication ceremony to follow on June 15.

Washburn said he is confident the association can meet that time frame, if the weather cooperates.

"We feel pretty good," Washburn said. "Materials are ready and ordered. We're prepared to get it done pretty quick."

The new house will become a home for Colleen Critcher, a single mother of four.

The residence marks the 25th home to be constructed by Watauga County Habitat for Humanity, a Christian ministry founded in 1987. Habitat for Humanity homeowners pay for the cost of their homes, but those costs are reduced through financial donations, donated materials, volunteer labor and in-kind services.

It is the fourth home to be built in the GreenWood neighborhood -- a 21-acre property near Green Valley School to eventually include 18 to 22 Habitat-built homes.

Hooker said Watauga Habitat hopes to begin construction of its next home, which will not be in the GreenWood neighborhood, in several months.

Washburn said he believed the association would be interested in participating in the Builders Blitz again in the future. The event is held by Habitat every other year.

Hooker said additional community volunteers are invited to participate by providing food to Builders Blitz workers or by helping out at the site.
For more information, contact Watauga Habitat at (828) 268-9545.