With students’ help, Annapolis site starts to look like home -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

With students’ help, Annapolis site starts to look like home


Volunteers from Stevenson University work on the second floor of town houses being built in the Clay Street neighborhood of Annapolis, Maryland, on the final day of the 27th Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake


Stevenson University students receive instructions on the work site. Sixty-six Stevenson students worked on the site Saturday. They were the largest group of volunteers on the site during the Carter Work Project. © Habitat for Humanity International/Larry Perrault


By Larry Perrault and Susan Stevenson

When Stevenson University students—66 strong—arrive on a build site, expect action.

On Saturday, two busloads were dispersed throughout the Annapolis, Maryland, build site. They put up floor joists, covered the exterior walls in blue board insulation, built stairs and fine-tuned kitchen window openings. They were the largest group on site this week, and many were members of the Stevenson University lacrosse team.

Pete Cox, construction manager, divided the students into groups of seven and assigned each group to a crew leader. The first group was assigned to fix a fence at the build site. One student was a little more eager than his colleagues to get to work.

“Do we get power tools?” he asked, to nobody in particular.

Everybody had been waiting for the group from Stevenson, which is just outside of Baltimore. The students went down the hospitality line of tables, registering and getting volunteer T-shirts. The hard hats proved to be the biggest hit among the group: “Wow! I get a hard hat.”

After the hard hats were grabbed from a box, cameras went off as various students posed in their new construction head gear. One student, decked out in T-shirt, hard hat, gloves and safety glasses, promised, “I am going to be so adequate.”

But the lacrosse team were more than adequate in meeting their construction goals.


Few volunteers were on site early Saturday, but retiree volunteers wasted no time in continuing work on the houses going up in Annapolis for the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project.

Frank Martino, one of the “red hat” volunteers who know their way around a construction site, was working with crew leader Bill Schummer, sawing lumber for temporary stairways.

“We’ll keep this on until it’s time to put the professional stairway in,” Schummer explained.

Both men, retired engineers, have volunteered their time with the local Habitat affiliate for 12 years.

Women Build leader

Ruth Lutman leads the Women Build house No. 10 where Lakreasha Artis will one day live. A red hat volunteer in Anne Arundel since 1992, she learned all her construction skills on a Habitat build site.

She volunteered one Saturday at her brother’s urging while she was caring for her mom, who had a stroke, and one thing let to another. “You get hooked,” she said.

Lutman now volunteers about 40 hours a month with Habitat. She has been at three previous Carter projects and served as a crew leader for five AmeriCorps builds.

This is her third Women Build house, and she likes it. “Women are more apt to listen to you,” she explained. But she likes volunteers’ willingness to work in general. “They’ll do whatever you ask.”

Her crew of women from Lowe’s one day this week had had no experience on a Habitat project, but “by the end of the day, they knew what they were doing, “ she said with some satisfaction.

What’s next for Clay and Pleasant?

When the 10 town houses on the corner of Clay and Pleasant streets are finished, they’ll be clad in three earth colors of vinyl siding with mint frost shingle roofs. Vinyl shutters will accent the exterior. The whole property will be graded when the parking lot is built at the end of construction. Some green space will replace the straw mats called erosion blankets that now keep the site neat and dry.

The three houses that face Pleasant Street are smaller than the seven that face Clay Street and will be finished first.

Pete Cox, construction manager, said he expects construction crews and volunteers will be on the build site until April.

“We’ll see what happens, but I would like to get these first three houses finished by Dec. 31,” he said.

Cox, his site supervisors and a small AmeriCorps crew will be on site building Tuesday through Saturday in the weeks to come. Volunteers will swell the number of on-site workers Thursdays to Saturdays.

Frank Turner, who will be doing plumbing work on the houses, won’t be able to start his work for a few weeks. “Then after that, I’ll be here for a while,” he said.

Turner was able to lay some preliminary drains near the foundations of the houses this week. His company, Len the Plumber, has donated plumbing fixtures and time to several Habitat of the Chesapeake builds. The company is donating plumbing on three of these houses.

Eventually, old, empty public housing units behind the Habitat build site will be torn down, and the hope is that space will join the renovation along the Clay Street corridor in the Old Fourth Ward.

The Carter project has moved the town houses from bare decking to a second-story with exterior and interior walls in place.

As one of the family partners on site Saturday said, “It’s beginning to look like it could be home someday.”

Larry Perrault is manager of the Global Village and Discovery Center and is a volunteer at the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. Susan Stevenson is director of Program Communications.