Archive for Thursday, August 30, 2001

Habitat house moves closer to completion

August 30, 2001

Six weeks ago, a Eudora family's new home was nothing more than a concrete slab. About 78 volunteer hours later, the walls, roof and frame make imagining the rooms of the house easier.

Despite the damp weather from the previous night's thunderstorms, volunteers were plugging away at the inside of the Habitat for Humanity house on Locust Street about 11 a.m. Aug. 23. The work moved inside about a week before, just before bouts of rain began hitting Eudora, volunteers said. When the temperature and heat index got extremely hot earlier in the month and in July, volunteers had to cut back hours during the afternoon.

Elden Lovelett and Paul Oelschlaeger said volunteers were preparing the home for the installation of a furnace and air conditioner. For the time being, the only air conditioning came from a noisy fan set in the window of what will be the kitchen, and the only heat not that volunteers needed any came from cups of Casey's coffee, brought by the home's owner, Karen Williams.

"We put the windows in last Saturday," Lovelett said.

The roofing wasn't finished yet, he said, which meant the week's rain caused the roof to leak slightly. But that didn't stifle Lovelett's pride in the work.

"We're way ahead of what they are down in Lawrence," he said.

Retired Farmland worker and occasional carpenter Don Richardson recently joined the effort, mostly painting the home's exterior.

"It kind of shut down my painting a little," he said of the wet weather. Richardson lives about a half a block away from the site.

Even though he's been doing carpentry work off and on since 1961, he said volunteers of all abilities and backgrounds could help out.

"They can clean up," Richardson said. "They can carry pieces."

Williams said she was amazed at how large the house seemed now that studs delineated the rooms' borders. When building began, she said, she couldn't image how three bedrooms would fit on that slab of cement.

"It's so neat," Williams said, looking up at the roof in the kitchen.

Volunteer and coordinator Bill Whitten said a completion date was difficult to estimate because they were waiting on subcontractors for electrical, plumbing and heating and cooling work. Those workers are busy this time of year, Whitten said.

"Right now we're trying to leave it open-ended," Whitten said. "We'll see where we are in a couple of weeks. I'm hoping to see something by the end of September."

Predicting a finishing date isn't an exact science, especially when the work is volunteered, Whitten said, although having regular workers helped.

Prospective volunteers can expect to paint the interior walls and trims, and landscaping will come up soon, Whitten said. But construction experience isn't a prerequisite.

"If someone doesn't have no talent at all, there's always something they can do," he said.

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