Sunday, May 3, 2009

April Showers Bring May Volunteer Effort

I've lost track of the number of weeks we've sent volunteers out there (which is a good thing), so it's quite the experience to go back through and look at the pictures of the house as it has risen from the ground. If I had had more clairvoyance at the beginning of this project, I would have staked out a spot at one corner of the house and taken a picture every week, spliced them together, and made a slideshow of it.

Well, we have one month to get the house finished if UC/Habitat is going to get the infrastructure grant it so dearly needs, but a good amount of work still needs to be finished, so this project is going to come down to the wire. There is good news, though; visible progress has been made on the porch, siding, the new street, the interior, and the basement.

Finally, I managed to track down the elusive Tyann Edwards; I managed to get a picture of her for our blog, so now, if you ever see her about, stop and speak with her. She had some very kind words for the volunteers who have sacrificed their time on this project, and speaking with her briefly was well worth it.

I will be crossing my fingers for the project as we enter the most frenetic stage of development since Blitz Week 2008.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

University Honors Association 5K to Benefit Habitat

When we set out this year with building our 6th Annual Habitat house, one of the goals this year was to engage the UC student body in ways that the UC/HFH partnership has missed throughout the preceding years. We are proud to announce that the University of Cincinnati University Honors Association (UHA) has taken notice of all the work that UC and it's student body has done with Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity, and is holding a 5K fundraiser to benefit the UC/Habitat partnership.

With collaboration from several UC and Cincinnati Habitat coordinators, the UHA Habitat for Humanity 5K Pajama Benefit will take place on Sunday morning, May 17th, on the University of Cincinnati campus. Yes, that's right, come out and help walk or run in your pajamas for the benefit of UC/Habitat for Humanity!

Enjoy yourselves, win something from our raffles, warm up (or wind down) from another relay or marathon event, and meet all sorts of characters from UC and Habitat for Humanity!

Date: Sunday, May 17th
Time: 8:30 AM (Registration) // 10:00 AM (Race time)
Location: University Campus - McMicken Commons
What to Bring: $10.00 registration fee

You can register for the 5k all the way up to May 17th at 8:30 AM, and the online registration link can be found here!

The route will be made available to you on site. If you're interested in the promotional flyer, it can be found below:

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Weeks Nine and Ten: Drywall and Paint

Even in the 6th year and 6th house, the UC/Habitat for Humanity joint venture is still feeling some growing pains, but we may have some news about the future of the UC/Habitat for Humanity collaboration soon, both from an extracurricular standpoint and a "master plan" standpoint.

While we wait for these developments to, for lack of a better word, develop, two of our previous hosts (Amy and Erin) have graciously provided us with some pictures detailing the drywall, painting, and miscellaneous work that has been done during the month of February. Just after the Valentine's Day weekend, there was a hefty push to install all the drywall in the house before the weekend of February 21st. As you can see in Amy's pictures, below, the drywall was completed, and the volunteers started working on touch-up items around the house (interior doors, site clean up, etc.)...

While Erin's group got the job of following up the painting and priming jobs. You can especially see how the living room and kitchen area is starting to take shape...

Having seen these pictures (I haven't been to the worksite since early February), it's encouraging to see how the interior is starting to light up, and, of course, the basement also needs attention. Still, development is progressing just as planned.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Weeks Seven and Eight: Interior Infrastructure

The last time that pictures had been taken of the Wolesley site, it was close to freezing, snow covered the ground, and there were no shingles on the house. As of Saturday the 14th, nearly all of the interior insulation had been completed, the shingles were in place, and it had warmed up considerably. While the temperature threatens to fall again, all of the insulation work and roofing is progressing as planned.

The interior of the house is noticeably more yellow now that the wall insulation has been installed, and the sun's rays seem to light up the inside now that it has something to reflect off of. The volunteer crew for the 14th was small (the smallest that UC has sent so far), so we're hoping everyone enjoyed their Valentine's Day break!

Two goals were reached on this past Saturday:
  • Roofing was completed by the Cincinnati Habitat group
  • And ground wall insulation was installed.
  • Additionally, the insulation for the vaulted ceilings was started
  • And just under half of the ground walls received a vapor barrier coating.
In addition to all of that, there's going to be a big crew leader / volunteer push to get the drywall hung for the house in the next week or so. Once that is completed, painting and priming will come along, which is usually where we need a big influx of student volunteers. On a related note, the city is preparing to put down the water system and the street that will pass in front of the houses currently under construction. Soon, passers-by should be able to drive in-between Hale Avenue and Stewart Place!

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Weeks Three Through Six: There's Even A Tub!

As someone who is unusually close to the core of this project, for a while it seemed that the UC/Habitat project was sitting on a pretty sandy foundation. Stretching all the way back to the windstorm in September that caused extensive damage across the Greater Cincinnati area, it's been an uphill struggle that has appreciated every hour that Cincinnati Habitat crews put into it, every Saturday the volunteers poured into it, and every effort to advance the construction of this house.

The crews have enjoyed a steady stream of workers and volunteers, and, at this point the house is now a semi-contained unit. Soffit venting still needs to be installed to make an air-tight seal around the house, but each window and door is now installed, making something that looks very much like a least from the exterior.

Inside, there's every indication that the house still needs work, yet the first thing you notice is that you're shielded from the rain and the wind. As I was taking pictures inside to show you, I couldn't help but notice my own breath, but with the stillness of the air, you could almost wear a T-shirt and not have any problems. Additionally, the situation with the contained house allows Tyann to explore the interior and even hammer a few nails in without serious concerns about the cold. While this may not happen until late-February to mid-March, she may show up at any time, allowing the crew members and volunteers to meet the lucky woman who'll occupy this house.

Since the first week of January, the following work has been completed:
  • Installed doors and windows
  • Secured roof paneling
  • Finished Tyvek wrap on the house
  • De-icing the basement space and moving materials into the space
  • Specialized shower/tub space was installed
  • HVAC was completed
  • Plumbing has started
  • Roof about one-third shingled
Vol./Host Status: The Center for Community Engagement really appreciates how far progress on the house has gotten, and even more so the labor capacity the volunteers have provided. It's been a great month for the hosts, as more than a few volunteers have come forth and stated they'd like a crack at hosting the event. If you can take care of the sign-in sheet, and don't have an issue with being the person to show up with the food (a much-lauded role), hosting is a great opportunity to be the 'sixth man' at the site.

I hate to sound like a broken record player, but watching this house go up is an awesome feeling.

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Friday, January 2, 2009

Week Two: The Roof Takes Shape

With the start of 2009, the work site is starting to look like a house. Where there were once walls without a roof, trusses and insulation board now cover the framing and provide the house with it's iconic apex. Any and all progress, however, would be impossible without the skilled workers at the Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity group, the willing volunteers who come on behalf of the University of Cincinnati and the house's eventual occupant, Tyann Edwards, and the patience of everyone behind the curtains. This year will bring the realization of a landmark project for the University of Cincinnati, a whole new street, and a design fostered by UC's own students in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning.

The last work week of 2008, however, went out with a bang, as a UC crew of nearly a dozen complemented the Cincinnati Habitat crew leaders and made some excellent progress on the house:

The following work was completed the weekend of 12/13:
  • Scaffolding was raised on the inside and outside;
  • Roof trusses were raised, mounted, and secured;
  • Insulation board was attached to the house;
  • Plywood covering was mounted on both ends of the roof;
  • And a huge shipment of plywood was transported into the house.
With the Winter Break behind us, work is going to go into full swing. A full month of crews will be sent out to the site, as such issues as Tyvek, siding, and interior work are tackled. Once the exterior is prepped and sealed, interior work will begin in earnest.

Vol./Host Status: The Center for Community Engagement is always looking for volunteers, and especially for the upcoming weekends as we're looking to get some construction momentum going. Hosting and volunteer vacancies abound, so if you're looking to help, there are plenty of opportunities to assist with the house.

Here's to a wonderful year, and another wonderful home!

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Week One: Foundation

Work on the 2008 - 2009 UC/Habitat For Humanity House has officially started! As of 11/29, the foundation for the Wolseley work site has been poured and set, and the work crew that went out on Saturday, the 29th, raised a majority of the interior walls, in spite of the cold. As is tradition around here, we've provided some pictures of the work and some of the workers, as well:

The volunteers, Mike, Li, and Neil, were great workers; jumping right in and grabbing as much framing as they could carry. One must note, these volunteers are especially dedicated: That morning, the University of Cincinnati football team played Syracuse to secure their first Big East championship, which these guys chose to forgo being a part of, so props to them.

The following work was completed this past weekend:
  • Foundation was poured and set;
  • Below-ground windows were shielded;
  • Plywood flooring and basement frame was raised;
  • And interior above-ground walls were raised.
Now that the house is under construction, we can start looking ahead to the coming weeks; with the exception of next week, work on the house won't resume until January, so we're going to try to get as much done as we can before that. As the students have exams from December 8th to December 12th, UC/Habitat isn't asking for hosts or volunteers for the coming weekend, but instead, is looking for help with a Friday-Saturday-Sunday the weekend after exams finish (12/12 - 12/14). If you ask me, I'd much rather pound nails than take final exams any day.

Vol./Host Status: As it stands, the Center for Community Engagement (the community service arm of UC which you can find a link to on your right) is currently looking for volunteers for those weekends. Hosting is currently covered for both Friday, 12/12, and Sunday, 12/14. Saturday's hosting vacancy, however, is still open.

One last bit of news: This coming Saturday (December 6th) is the date for the 3253 Wolseley Drive house dedication ceremony. Starting at 10 AM, the UC/Habitat Steering Committee will be taking this opportunity to formally introduce the recipients of the house, Tyann Edwards and her son, Dwight Williams. Tyann, who was paralyzed from the waist down after a car accident, should be served well by this home, which was designed specifically to cater to people with disabilities. Directions to the Wolseley site can be found to the right under external links.

Here's to a wonderful year, and another wonderful home!

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About UC Habitat

  • This is the UC Habitat Happenings (UCHH) weblog!
  • The UCHH blog updates on Wednesdays and/or Sundays.
  • The Webmaster for UCHH is Billy Spies, and he can be reached at spieswl[at]
  • Graphics for UCHH are provided by Carey Spies, and she can be reached at careylin09[at]
  • This is the UC/Habitat for Humanity documentary blog! A student-led effort to bring a greater community awareness for the UC/Habitat for Humanity cooperative and a greater recognition for the effort and sacrifice undertaken weekly by willing (and able) volunteers!
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