College News

Community partnership builds green Habitat home

Click to enlarge Community partnership builds green Habitat home

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Lorrie Cotton (center left) gives a hug to Marc Clark, chairman of the Family Selection Committee ... (more)

Click to enlarge Community partnership builds green Habitat home

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Lorrie Cotton (third from left) listens as Marc Clark, chairman of the Family Selection Committee ... (more)

Click to enlarge Community partnership builds green Habitat home

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Lorrie Cotton (center back) and two of her children, Tony (left) and Kenneth (front) are all smiles ... (more)

12.15.2010College & Community

SANFORD - A big smile spread over the faces of Lorrie Cotton and her four children Tuesday as they received the keys to their new Habitat for Humanity home on Poplar Street.

"I've been so excited all day about this," Cotton said. "I love Habitat for choosing my family and all those who worked so hard to build it."

The attractive, three-bedroom home is the 32nd Habitat for Humanity home built in Lee County, but this one is different. According to Gary Wicker, director of the Sanford Area Habitat for Humanity, this home is "green," incorporating extra energy efficient features such as solar panels for hot water heating, a double layer of insulation for improved weatherization, and water retention barrels to conserve rainwater for use on the landscaping.

Construction was funded primarily through a Golden Leaf Foundation Golden Leaf Opportunities for Work (GLOW) grant obtained by Central Carolina Community College. The purpose of the grant was to train students and displaced workers in sustainable, energy-efficient construction.

The college partnered with Habitat for Humanity, Lee County Schools, and many community business partners in the project. Construction of the home brought together the college's expertise in green building education, the school district's goal of training students in green construction technology, and Habitat's desire to build a home for another Lee County family.

"The Golden LEAF Foundation is pleased to support the college and its partners in training students in green, sustainable construction," said Dan Gerlach, Golden LEAF president. "Golden LEAF created GLOW to help get North Carolinians trained for available job opportunities during the down economy. Through this project, Lee County students gained hands-on experience in the trade and nationally recognized credentials, helping increase the employability of our citizens and accelerate their path into gainful employment."

The fruit of the collaboration is a new, energy efficient home for Cotton and her four children, Kenneth, Jasmine, Tamika, and Tony. Many of those involved in the project gathered at the home Tuesday for a dedication ceremony and open house.

"This is a perfect example of people working together and achieving something truly remarkable," said CCCC President Bud Marchant. He thanked the Golden LEAF Foundation for making it possible. 

The college received the $200,000 GLOW grant from the foundation in 2009. The grant accomplished three community partnering and workforce development goals, according to Stelfanie Williams, CCCC vice president of the college's Economic and Community Development Division: the Habitat home, displaced worker training, and equipping a mobile weatherization training van.

The college, in collaboration with Lee County Schools, used part of the GLOW grant to enroll 24 students from Lee County and Southern Lee high schools in a green building and carpentry program. The students were trained and then put their skills to work building the Habitat green home. With the skills they learned, they earned carpentry and green building certifications from the National Center for Construction Education and Research. 

The students also received additional benefits, according to Lee County Schools Superintendent Jeff Moss.

"This project serves as a model for our students in understanding the importance of giving back to one's community," he said. "Not only has it taught valuable skills, but it has also allowed them to share in the joy of service above self."

Aaron Fleming, Lee County Schools director of career and technical education, added that many of the students involved had not considered going to college. Taking a college class changed that and they now aspire to continue their educations.

Landscaping for the project was done by Southern Lee High School agriculture students, funded by Habitat and a Job Ready grant.

In addition to the construction of the Habitat home, the college also used some of the GLOW funding for a JobsNow weatherization class, training 10 displaced workers with skills such as doing energy audits and retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency. That program was offered in Chatham County. 

The GLOW grant also funded a mobile weatherization van for the college's green building/weatherization program. This is enabling the college to expand its weatherization training to Lee and Harnett, the other two counties it serves.

"CCCC is known as 'Green Central' for its sustainability education," Williams said. "Part of our vision is to provide green education in partnership with businesses and community organizations. The GLOW grant was crucial in building the home, as well as building community collaboration and the college's capacity to provide sustainability workforce training."