A joint project between the Union County Board of Developmental Disabilities (UCBDD), the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center and several other agencies to build a one-of-a-kind home for a couple of UCBDD clients will soon be finished, if the weather decides to cooperate.

A joint project between the Union County Board of Developmental Disabilities (UCBDD), the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center and several other agencies to build a one-of-a-kind home for a couple of UCBDD clients will soon be finished, if the weather decides to cooperate.

More than two years ago, a group of students from the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center in Bellefontaine began construction on a house that will become the new home for UCBDD clients Elaine Pope and Chelsea Babione. The house was built in two sections, inside the workshop at U-CO Industries. Last week crews transported the first section of the house via flatbed through the middle of town to its final destination on Eighth Street, but heavy rains saturated the site to such an extent that the truck couldn't get into the right spot. Crews finished the job Friday, June 24.

"We were unable to get that first half set, but they brought in a bobcat to level the ground out again, and that was done (last week)," said Carol Scheiderer, UCBDD executive assistant.

Scheiderer said the project has brought together a number of local and county agencies, including UCBDD, Hi-Point Career Center and Creative Living Systems in Delaware. Over the past two years, about 50 students from Hi-Point's construction technology class put in about 18,000 hours of labor to construct the house, adapting designs to cater to disabled residents. A new 16-foot bay door had to be sawed into the side of the U-CO Industries workshop just so the project could be hauled across town.

While the house was scheduled to be moved to Eighth Street last week with finishing touches ongoing this month, Scheiderer said the partners won't let the weather stop them.

"From my understanding it'll take about a month to get the final inspection on the plumbing and electrical systems once they have everything done," she said. "After that Hi-Point would like to host an open house, inviting all of the students that worked on the house. The girls are anxious to meet the folks that built their home. Once we have that open house, we'll have a move-in date for them."

Funding the $100,000 project was also a joint effort costs for the land and preparation work were funded through the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program, including about $50,000 accessed by the county commissioners; Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities capital funds is paying about $40,000 of the project, with the final $10,000 paid by UCBDD through local funding.

Scheiderer said the way in which the community has chipped in to help the two young ladies toward independence is truly heartwarming.

"It gives me goosebumps," she said. "For Chelsea, this is her first move away from home, and she might be a little apprehensive, but she's so excited. This is what community is all about even with all of the growth our county has experienced, there is still a hometown feeling here. Everyone wants this program to work, and it just brings tears to my eyes."

She added that once the weather clears and the house is finished, more Hi-Point students have volunteered to put finishing touches like landscaping and a front porch on the project.

"What Hi-Point is really doing, they're training these students to care for others who may need a little extra assistance," she said. "They're working side-by-side with the people they're helping, and they're going to grow up to care about people."

With this first effort to provide some of their clients with their very own home, UCBDD plans on repeating the process. Executive director Kim Miller has said that the goal is to construct a new house each year.