Many residents of Mount Airy had a surprise today, as they traveled along the roads or looked out their windows — a full-size house on the back of a truck traveling from North Surry High School along N.C. 89, to Business 52, through Arlington Street to U.S. 52, and on to the Holly Springs community, to its final resting place on Hiatt Road.
The Greater Mount Airy Habitat for Humanity home was constructed as part of a cooperative effort between Habitat for Humanity, Surry County Schools, North Surry High School and Surry Community College, with students from North Surry and SCC working on the construction for the home as part of their building technology classes.
Surry County Schools’ Director of Secondary Education Jill Reinhardt said she was “certainly impressed” to see the home travel to the Holly Springs area from North Surry High School. Reinhardt and several other representatives of Surry County Schools traveled behind the home as it moved through town, in a caravan of support, which included Assistant Superintendent Dr. Terri Mosley and Myra Young, English, yearbook and journalism teacher at North Surry.
Reinhardt said the route the house traveled was “well-planned in advance” and she admired the efforts of the Department of Transportation and the sheriff’s office, who assisted in the big move, which was conducted by Oldham House Movers of Seagrove, a company who has more than 40 years of experience in moving homes, including other homes built by Habitat for Humanity and school construction classes.
There were no problems with the move, said Reinhardt, due to the professional crew of father and son. The move took an hour and a half. William Oldham said he spent an entire day mapping out and surveying the route, taking measurements and determining what steps they would take along the way to ensure a smooth move.
Everything went well, said Oldham, with only a pause to cut a few tree limbs hanging low on the Hiatt Road, just a few hundred feet from the final destination. A small bridge right before the prepared home site seemed like it might pose a problem to onlookers, since the house was wider than the bridge, but after a slow navigation across, the house cleared the railing and made the final turn. Oldham remarked that he already knew they would clear the bridge, and wasn’t worried at all.
The next step in the process will be to lay the footings, then the brick masons will come in and install the foundation before the house moving crew will return to lower the house onto the foundation, said Reinhardt. She said they are hopeful that North Surry and SCC construction students will be able travel to the building site during class to work on final touches in order to prepare the home for the Clark family to move in.
Reinhardt said North Surry High School students who were involved in the construction of the home gathered for a celebration Friday night at the school, joined by parents, teachers, family and friends. The students will graduate from high school but also will receive a construction technology certificate from Surry Community College, free of charge, thanks to Surry County Schools’ Career and College Promise program, which allows students to complete community college course work while they are still in high school.
At last night’s celebration, students posed for pictures in graduation robes and construction hats, with their diplomas.
North Surry High School senior Austin Shupe was on site to watch the move said the experience was enjoyable. “I now actually want to go into this as a career. The construction classes I had made me realize that I wanted to keep up with it. They encouraged me and it made me want to proceed. I was really happy to be able to help out a family who really needed it. It really is amazing to see it here,” he said, looking at the house that he spent countless hours working on. Shupe said after graduation he will attend SCC to take more classes to improve his construction skills.
This was the goal of the program, said Reinhardt — to inspire those enrolled to take advantage of the relationships built through the partnership.
Myra Combs said she taught a special online English IV class for the students in the carpentry program, a class that was directly related to carpentry and building skills. Instead of using a traditional literature textbook, Combs used informational texts for the online hybrid class, which included students from North Surry, East Surry and Surry Central high schools.
Combs said the class was challenging, but it was also “the most rewarding experience as an educator thus far.
“I worried constantly about how my young men would perform on the Common Exam at the end of the semester because they would not be studying British literature to the extent students in traditional classes were. In the end, these young men proved to us that it did not matter that they were primarily studying informational texts directly related to carpentry. Students could still master the same reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language skills required in any English language arts class as long as the texts were increasingly complex and the assignments were rigorous. Even though we just got the house moved today, I am already thinking about how we can make the program even more successful next year.”
Lynn Wilkes, executive director at Habitat for Humanity, said she was proud of the collaboration between the organization, Surry County Schools and Surry Community College. “It was a true collaboration…students had hands-on learning experience and they were able to work on campus building the home instead of wasting travel time going to the build site.”
The recipients of the Habitat home are the Clark family, a brother and two sisters — Phillip, Ramona and Noreen Clark. Members of the Clark’s extended family were on site, excitedly watching the work along with neighbors who came out in support.
The Clark family needed a new home — their former home was more than 100 years old and had to be demolished after their Habitat application was accepted. The Clarks will help work on their own home, a process referred to by Habitat for Humanity as sweat equity hours. The organization used three criteria to determine who received the home: need, the ability to pay an affordable mortgage for 25 to 30 years, and a commitment to perform sweat equity hours on their own home.
“This really is a win-win for all partners involved. It is really exciting for us,” said Wilkes.
Reach Jessica Johnson at email@example.com or 719-1933.