The Yale undergraduates who joined with students from area colleges and high schools to create the first "Collegiate Build" house in New Haven aren't planning to rest for long on their laurels.
As soon as the the dedication ceremonies for the Habitat for Humanity HfH project on 322 Newhall St. are completed on Saturday, Dec. 7, the students will pick up their tools once more and head next door to the now boarded-up structure that will be the next Collegiate Build project.
In addition to the Yale students, the volunteers for Collegiate Build hailed from Southern Connecticut State University, Quinnipiac College and the University of New Haven, and from local high schools, including Fairfield Preparatory, Hamden High, and North Haven High schools. The students not only built the house, but also raised the $60,000 necessary for construction, organized all volunteers, and assisted with the selection of the family to purchase the property. Yale's campus chapter of HfH is affiliated with Dwight Hall.
"One of the special aspects of this Build is the partnership that was formed between area colleges," says Julie Edwards '97 of Saybrook College, a coordinator of the Collegiate Build project on campus. "There are few opportunities for us to work together in this way, and it was really fun. With Collegiate Build II starting up right away, we'll have many experienced volunteers. This one should go even more rapidly than the first. We're actually trying to acquire a third house to tackle this school year, as Collegiate Build III."
Work on 322 Newhall St. began on Jan. 27, in the midst of an unusually cold and snowy winter. Before the renovations could even begin on the structure, an improvised brick storefront and shed had to be removed. Students wielding sledgehammers then took down all the inside walls, and the house was rebuilt from its foundation and frame. The roof was redone, exterior siding went up, and new walls, windows and doors were installed. A coat of paint and a new kitchen completed the interior work. Outdoors, students built a new porch and a fence in the backyard.
Moving into the first Collegiate Build house will be Dana and Ben Greene and their children, Michael, Ashley and BJ. The family worked on the house, spending virtually every Saturday at the site. At the dedication ceremony, the Greenes, both of whom work at Yale, will be presented with a hammer symbolizing the work they did on their new home.
Habitat for Humanity has several ongoing projects in New Haven and seeks low-income home-buyers. Potential buyers are expected to invest "sweat equity," working alongside volunteers. They purchase the house for the cost of the materials, since all labor is donated. HfH arranges for the financing of a 25-year, no interest mortgage.
The public is invited to attend the dedication ceremony, which will begin at noon. For further information on the dedication ceremony or Habitat for Humanity, call Julie Edwards at 436-1018 or the Habitat office at 785-0794.