Volunteers break ground for fourth Habitat house


John Breazeale (right) helps MSU President Mark E. Keenum drive the first construction nail of Daphne Walton's (left) Habitat for Humanity-sponsored home. PHOTO: Beth Newman-Wynn | University Relations

With ground broken Aug. 10 by Mississippi State and Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity volunteers, the fourth annual Maroon Edition Habitat for Humanity project is under way.

A service learning component of the university's Maroon Edition First-Year Reading Experience, this year's house is being built at 276 Steadman Lane to benefit Daphne Walton and her five children.

Kicking off construction was MSU President Mark E. Keenum, who drove the first nail into boards that will serve as part of the door frame.

"This project is a way for Mississippi State to continue its mission of service to our community and our state," Keenum said. "Service and outreach are who we are as a university, and it's wonderful to be part of such an occasion."

Student and employee volunteers will work Fridays and Saturdays throughout the fall semester until completion. MSU's Maroon Volunteer Center coordinates the efforts.

Students in the School of Architecture designed this year's house, with additional modifications to meet budget constraints.

Architecture assistant professor Alexis Gregory worked with the local Habitat program last fall and began a class during the spring to design future houses for the organization.

Gregory said the students researched projects from other universities, as well as general information about Habitat for Humanity and its local chapter. They also took field trips to observe completed Habitat houses both locally and throughout the state, she added.

"The students learned a lot by seeing other people's homes and learning how people other than themselves live," Gregory observed. "They also learned how hard it is to work with such a limited building footprint because the building slab already existed; the students had to work within that limitation."

The house now under construction was designed by architecture majors Dalton J. Finch, of Vancleave, Anthony Penny, of Starkville, Scott M. Polley, of Biloxi, and Colton J. Stephens, of Germantown, Tenn. Finch and Stephens are juniors; Penny and Polley, seniors.

For more information about the MSU Maroon Edition program, visit www.maroonedition.msstate.edu.

Margaret Kovar | University Relations

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