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Plans for 2013 'maroon edition' Habitat house

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Updated: 5/24/2013 10:40 am
STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) -- Design plans developed by Mississippi State students in the College of Architecture, Art and Design will enable the next Maroon Edition Habitat for Humanity house project to move forward.

The Hendrix family, parents Raven and Malcolm, daughter, Zoë, 9, and Malcolm Jr. or "BJ", 3, met with the five university architecture and building construction science majors throughout the spring semester as they developed plans for the Beattie Street home.

The team's completed plans were presented at semester's end.

"The 'Habitat Prototype House' class is a service-learning project, so the idea is that it links education and service in a learning environment," said assistant architecture professor Alexis Gregory, who teaches the class.

The course is an extension of MSU's Maroon Edition first-year reading experience.

The Maroon Edition Habitat house is an annual service-learning project open to MSU student and local volunteers who undertake construction of the building.

"Throughout this course I learned the importance of working together as a team and the importance of architects and contractors working closely," said architecture major Jake Johnson of Roswell, Ga. "I also learned about the concept of service learning and how it impacts the construction industry."

Instead of completing a hypothetical project, the participating students were able to gain considerable hands-on experience.

Throughout the process, they sought and received feedback from both the Hendrix family and Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity board members.

"Designing for an actual client has really helped me to involve myself more in the project and become attached to it," Johnson said. "Knowing that this house will actually shelter a family has been a huge motivation for me."

Design challenges included a strict budget and Habitat guidelines, but the final result features a home with efficient, natural ventilation and high windows to bring in sunlight, he added.

"Everyone will have a bedroom," said Raven Hendrix. "My son and daughter have to share a room now, which is a problem now that he's bigger. We'll have a pantry in the kitchen; the living room is separate, and it's the largest area. And we'll have a backyard."

She emphasized how meaningful it was to the family to have input throughout the process, noting that the student designers were able to meet all of Habitat's guidelines, as well as staying within budget.

"It started to sink in once I saw the finalized plans; I was so excited," Hendrix said. "I'll be even more excited when we start working on the house."

She said one senior who graduated last weekend even promised to return in August to help build the house.
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