Volunteers Show up in Force for Extreme Makeover, University Donates Scholarships

MELBOURNE, FLA—Florida Institute of Technology faculty, staff and students went to extremes for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the ABC-TV show that builds a family a new home in one week flat. The construction recently took place in Canaveral Groves, giving the Hurston family a new home. The show will air on Sunday, Feb. 13, 8 to 9 p.m. EST.
Florida Tech, an event sponsor, not only contributed sweat equity but donated three university scholarships for the recipient Hurston family’s children. The four-year scholarships include tuition, and room and board.

Lifestyle Homes in Melbourne was in charge of building the home. The company’s CEO Jake Luhn said, “We’re both honored and gratified that Florida Tech—such a prestigious educational institution—would step forward and join our community in honoring the Hurston family.”

Florida Tech Faculty member Professor Ralph Locurcio, Construction Management program director, was one of the volunteers who showed up on the build site every day. He brought with him about 25 students, organized into three teams. Many of the students worked with him from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., some staying on to work the night shift as well. They helped form the concrete foundation, lay the concrete block walls, install windows and doors, put in furniture and landscaping, build a stage, and clean up. Locurcio estimates that he and just those Florida Tech students he brought put in more than 350 combined hours over the seven days of the project.

Brian Bomser, a junior majoring in aerospace engineering from Queens, N.Y., worked five days at the site, for about 25 hours total, he estimates. He poured concrete, laid rebar and managed the aluminum spectator assembly area barriers across the road from the house.

“I’ve been here some days at the crack on dawn,” he said, while re-figuring the barriers to control the crowd. “It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Sam Durrance, former astronaut and Florida Tech professor of physics and space science, joined a group from Kennedy Space Center, another sponsor, in simulating a launch into space of the former house. For the cameras, the space scientists attached rocket motors to the sides of the house, as if readying for blast off.

Drew Lacy, an editor of the student newspaper, the Crimson, covered the event from a student’s perspective. She also helped make the Extreme Makeover Home Edition Tweetup happen, gaining social networking exposure for this episode of the TV show.

Adjunct instructors in the College of Business Deeon and H.L. Singer II got involved while the old house was still standing. They helped pack up the Hurston’s belongings and hoist them onto trucks bound for storage or donation. “I can’t tell you how moving an experience it was for us to help this fine family,” said H.L.

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