Extreme Home Makeover

Central Academy of Technology and the Arts

Before A. J. Bodick, Amber Sullivan, and Gabe Tyson—then seniors at Central Academy of Technology and the Arts — entered the picture, Union County Habitat for Humanity had just three basic floor plans: a three-, four-, and five-bedroom layout. "The homes didn't really feel unique," says eighteen-year-old A. J., who's studying electrical engineering at UNCC.

As part of a senior project for their Engineering, Design, and Development (EDD) class, the three joined forces with Mike Reese, executive director at Union County Habitat for Humanity, and began an extensive redesign of a fifteen-plot housing development in Marshville. "It was tough to get all the constraints right," says Sullivan, eighteen, who will attend CPCC in the spring. "The halls had to be a certain size, and we had to make sure that four of the homes were 1,300 square feet, and that four were 1,400 square feet."

They also went to the future construction site to measure setbacks and test soil quality. At the end of the school year, they'd designed eight unique house plans, two of which will be handicap accessible. "Now, the people that live there can feel that their home is unique," says Tyson, a civil engineering major at N.C. State. "It's really helpful to Habitat, but it's also neat to have a house that I helped design at eighteen years old actually get built." — A. M.

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