A brand-new house left Santa Fe College’s Charles R. Perry Construction Institute on Thursday morning, headed to High Springs for a family in need.
The Habitat for Humanity home was taken to a site donated by High Springs, where the family will be able to pay for it with an affordable mortgage and sweat equity.
This was the 13th house Santa Fe’s construction and technical programs had built for Habitat for Humanity.
The students started work on the house in September, then continued building it through the fall and spring semesters, according to apprenticeship coordinator Justin MacDougall.
The construction is a joint effort between the construction management students and the apprenticeship students who are learning carpentry, HVAC, electrical and plumbing trades. MacDougall said it is a good experience because the different tracks will need to know how to work together after they graduate.
“This project allows us to actually build something that goes into the community, to where like a lot of schools will build something and have to tear it down or get rid of it,” MacDougall said.
Before Santa Fe partnered with Habitat for Humanity, the construction and technical programs built sheds for practical experience, according to academic advisor Tom Mason. He said this way is better because the house is fully wired and plumbed, and it must pass inspection.
The home takes about 2000 hours over nine months to build, and the cost to build has risen with the price of materials from about $30,000 to about $50,000, according to Rod Thomas, director of Santa Fe’s construction and technical programs. Sometimes, a donor underwrites the cost, but other times like this year, Habitat for Humanity reimburses the college for its expenses.
Thomas described the partnership with Habitat for Humanity as a win-win-win-win. Habitat for Humanity gets another house, the homeowners get a home, High Springs gets a new family, and the students get experience building a real house that must be up to code.
“There is no downside,” Thomas said.