CSU, Chico News

Students Partner with Salvation Army, City of Chico to Build Transitional Housing

Date: 03-06-2014

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs
Justin Besotes
Student Project Manager

Ceremonial Wall-Raising Event on Saturday, March 15, Will Kick Off Blitz Build

Keeping with an annual tradition of aiding those in need, students from California State University, Chico’s College of Engineering, Computer Science and Construction Management (ECC) will forego their spring break vacations in order to build two duplexes in just nine days for families transitioning out of rehabilitation.

More than a year went into in planning the 2014 CSU, Chico Annual Winter Community Service Project, which involves nearly 200 volunteers; 20 industry suppliers, subcontractors and sponsors; and financial support from community benefactors.

Volunteers will have from 6 a.m. on Friday, March 14, until Saturday, March 22, to meet their goal of completing the two 1,600-square-foot duplexes. The University’s partnership with the Salvation Army and the City of Chico on the project will fill a vital need in helping single-parent families successfully transition out of the Salvation Army’s adult rehabilitation program.

“The Salvation Army greatly appreciates the collaboration with CSU, Chico and the City of Chico,” said Salvation Army Chico Corps Envoy Dennis Stumpf. “We’re excited to offer this transitional program for single-parent families and so grateful for the generous community support we’ve received. It’s truly an example of what can be done when community partners come together.”

The duplexes will be located at the corner of West 8th and Salem streets in Chico and will serve families participating in the new Ann and Emmett Skinner Transitional Living Program.

Media, please note: A ceremonial wall-raising event on Saturday, March 15, at 9 a.m. will kick off the blitz build. Invited guests are CSU, Chico President Paul Zingg, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Belle Wei, College of ECC Interim Dean Ben Juliano, Department of Construction Management Chair Rovane Younger, and student leader Justin Besotes; City of Chico Mayor Scott Gruendl and City Manager Brian Nakamura; Salvation Army and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) representatives; Rotary members; and key donors to the project. The ceremony will take place on site at 719 Salem St.

Each year, construction management students plan and lead a community service project from start to finish. Past projects have included rebuilding homes in tornado-struck Joplin, Missouri; barn raising at the local Patrick Ranch Museum; building homes for Catalyst Domestic Violence Services in Chico; and rebuilding houses damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

The 20-person student leadership team acts under the guidance of construction management faculty members Alan Bond, James O’Bannon and David Shirah and CSU, Chico Assistant Manager of Utilities and Sustainability Marie Patterson. Along with the challenge of building two duplexes in nine days the students are planning for the units to be LEED Platinum certified and meet stringent environmental building requirements.

“Because we’re involved from start to finish, we gain tremendous knowledge of how the building process works,” said Besotes, a construction management major in his senior year. “We get hands-on experience, from planning the project to going out and building it. It puts in perspective what we’re learning in our classes.”

During the blitz build, students, staff, faculty, staff, advisors and other community volunteers will start construction activities at 6 a.m. and continue until 10 p.m. every night. Each shift will consist of 50 to 60 volunteers hammering, cutting and laboring to aid in the successful completion of the project.

“Instilling the joy of giving in our students is one of the best aspects of this project,” said O’Bannon. “Once they experience that, they will keep doing it their whole lives. From a practical standpoint, students who graduate with experience like this are a step ahead of those at other colleges.”

Among the other special features of the project are the following:

  • An Industry Advisory Board made up of prominent area builders from Conroy Construction Inc., Slater and Son Inc. and Modern Building Inc. has been advising the student leaders throughout the project and offering workshops to students on a construction methods.
  • The homes will include high-efficiency heating and air-conditioning equipment, instantaneous water heaters, drought-tolerant landscaping, LED lighting, high-efficiency appliances and solar electricity.
  • In addition to the approximately 90 student volunteers, about 75 community members will volunteer during the build, including a group of 40 employees from PG&E.
  • The project is made possible by substantial financial contributions from several members of the community. The total project cost is estimated at $500,000.
  • A number of community partners are providing in-kind products and services, including Alternative Energy Systems, CES Electrical, PG&E, Chico Sunrise Rotary and Chico Noon Rotary. The last two, for example, are providing volunteer meals and landscaping services.
  • Students have participated in nearly every aspect of the project, including applying for the use permit, managing the public review process, creating estimates and schedules, coordinating with local utilities, and planning site safety and logistics. The estimated student contribution is valued at approximately $100,000.

CSU, Chico’s Department of Construction Management program began offering classes to seven majors in 1978. The department currently serves over 200 students and has maintained continuous accreditation by the American Council for Construction Education since 1987.

The Salvation Army of Chico has been offering services to the region for 125 years. Last year, more than 1,200 families and 4,900 individuals were assisted by the various Salvation Army programs, which include basic social services, youth programs, emergency disaster services and an adult rehabilitation program.

Additional contacts:

Tanya Stumpf, Envoy
Chico Corps Salvation Army

Mark Sorenson, Councilmember
City of Chico