PICKENS — It has been a long time coming but Habitat for Humanity’s Pickens County chapter has broken ground on helping its 100th family, and some School District of Pickens County students will play a major role.
May 1981 saw the first Pickens County family assisted by Habitat for Humanity’s mission of providing quality housing for low income families and Sept. 21 was the “Begin the Build” celebration with many in attendance from the community and SDPC as well.
The new home is located at 226 Hoyt Anderson Road in Pickens. The family is Brandon and Macie Davis and their children, Della and Gatlin.
Under normal circumstances, a home is renovated or constructed by volunteer work crews but this centennial version will be completed almost exclusively by three classes of students attending SDPC schools.
Cindy Sanders, executive director for Pickens County’s chapter, was excited at the prospect.
“This is quite an accomplishment to say the least, to be able to help 100 families this way,” Sanders said. “There will be no other volunteers on site while the students are here, and they are going to be doing a great deal of work themselves. We want them to feel like it’s their home, they built it.”
Three classes of SDPC high school students will be involved in the project, according to Ken Hitchcock, director of the Pickens County Career and Technology Center — a senior class for masonry, a senior class for electrical, and a junior class teaching construction technology.
“Jeff (Stephens) asked if it was feasible for our students to work with Habitat for Humanity on a project and I contacted Cindy (Sanders) to coordinate the project and things have gone well for both of us,” Hitchcock said. “We saw this as an opportunity to give more practical experience to the students of these classes because they’re our future builders and contractors and they have taken to it with a lot of excitement.”
The masonry class will be the first on site as they lay the foundation of the new structure with the construction technology students framing the walls of the new home in the shop before transporting them and placing them. Finally the electrical class will come in and wire the structure for power.
Sanders was unsure as to when construction would be complete on the home as that will depend on coordinating with the students and SDPC to complete the work.
“One of these usually takes about nine months, and yes, sometimes they do come in early, some as early as five months,” she explained. “But working with the students and the district we’re not sure how long this project will take. We want to give the kids a chance to learn while they’re helping and giving back to the community.”
As far as Hitchcock is concerned, there may be practical experience to be gained but there is a bigger lesson involved.
“This is a chance for our students to also learn about giving back to the community,” Hitchcock said.
To make donations or volunteer with Pickens County’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity, contact the group at 864-878-6374.
Reach D. C. Moody at 864-855-0355.