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PCC, ECU Students Team up on House Plan

With the plans they developed for "David's House" on display in front of them, the PCC and ECU students who worked on the project take time out for a group photo. From left to right, they are: Anthony Marshall, Cynthia Mareck, Ro Molina, Miho Iba, Bonnie Goodin, Jorge Perez-Velasquez, Ernest Moore and Maison Woodcock. Marshall, Goodin, Perez-Velasquez, Moore and Woodcock are from PCC while Mareck, Molina and Iba are from ECU.

WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College Architectural Technology students teamed with Interior Design students from East Carolina University this spring to help an eastern North Carolina man come closer to realizing his dream home.

David W. (his full name is being withheld to respect his privacy) is a 31-year-old with a winning smile and love of hats, canes, and all things Disney. A “miracle baby” who weighed a little more than a pound when he was born, he also has developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy and is legally blind.

“Despite his challenges, David loves life and aspires to do the same things most folks do: family, love, satisfying occupations, and a comfortable home,” said PCC Architectural Technology Instructor Bill Hofler. “Thanks to the talented students who collaborated on David’s ‘dream’ project, he is one step closer to the dream home he would like to have.”

After interviewing David’s family, Hofler said the students visited David at his mother’s home, where he currently resides. He said they asked him what he likes about his current home, what he would like in a home of his own, the challenges he deals with due to his medical condition, his interests, and more.

Following the design process that came next, Hofler said the students provided sketches and explanations for David, his family and his caregivers to critique. He said upon receiving those reviews, the students went back to work on refining the house plans.

After several orchestrated meetings to gather additional information and critiques, the students prepared for their big reveal. Hofler said they presented the final house plans to David’s family first and then for a career fair later that day.

The design, he said, was shown on four large foam boards with color images of the interior, exterior and landscape views of the home. A 3-D model of the final design solution was also provided. The interior design students even included suggestions for furnishings that would aid with David’s mobility in the home.

According to Hofler, David’s mom says she and her family are extremely grateful for the work done by the students. “I did not expect to cry or be so emotional when I saw the final project, but they truly captured the dream and amazed us,” she is quoted as saying. “The house is not only beautiful, but it is functional for a person with disabilities, energy-efficient and sustainable.”

Hofler said David and his family hope to begin construction of David’s dream home as early as this fall.

The project conducted this spring is not the first time PCC Architectural Technology and ECU Interior Design students have combined talents for a class assignment. Hofler said that in previous years, his students have worked with their ECU counterparts to develop designs for the N.C. Sustainable Building Design Competition and create a building concept for the First People Heritage Center in Wayne County.