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K-State Today

February 9, 2016

AGC student chapter experiences unique winter break

Submitted by Ray Buyle

The Associated General Contractors of America student chapter in the architectural engineering and construction science department at Kansas State University once again embarked on a service project over winter break.

Fifteen chapter members and faculty adviser Ray Buyle, associate professor in architectural engineering and construction science, along with three members of K-State's Habitat for Humanity student chapter, assisted with the construction of a new adobe home Jan. 9-16 in Taos, New Mexico.

Buyle and the 18 students spent five days constructing a 1,200-square-foot Habitat for Humanity home, employing traditional native adobe brick exterior wall construction. Made with clay-and-straw brick exterior walls, along with conventional wood framed interior walls and pre-engineered wood roof trusses, the house had been topped out and was ready to be prepped for stucco when the group arrived.

The team was tasked with installing the vapor barrier and stucco screening to all of the interior and exterior adobe wall surfaces, as well as to the roof parapets. Additionally, they installed exterior doors, and architectural sheet metal roofing and flashing for the front porch and mechanical room.

The service project and travel expenses were funded by a community service grant from Target awarded to the student chapter last spring, support from the Associated General Contractors of Kansas and travel funding from the K-State Student Governing Association.

Kyle Mayer, senior in construction science management and the chapter's alternative break coordinator, was instrumental in planning this year's event, which marks the eighth consecutive time the student chapter has conducted this type of service project. Mayer organized the trip to New Mexico through Habitat for Humanity International's Collegiate Challenge and the Taos, New Mexico Habitat for Humanity affiliate.

The K-State group was joined by six Collegiate Challenge participants from the University of Minnesota. Collegiate Challenge is a program which serves as a clearing house for local affiliates looking to host a home build event for university student groups over their respective school breaks.

Starting in 2009, the Associated General Contractors student chapter made three consecutive annual trips to New Orleans to assist with reconstruction following Hurricane Katrina. In 2012 the group traveled to Joplin, Missouri, to help with the tornado relief effort and in 2013 went to St. Louis, Missouri, to assist Rebuilding Together — St. Louis with the renovation of low-income housing.

In 2014 the combined K-State groups worked on three different Habitat for Humanity homes, along with other projects to assist the local community in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Last year's trip to Mobile, Alabama, allowed the students to renovate existing structures, as well as frame interior and exterior walls for a new home.

Chapter officers are putting finishing touches on a soon-to-be-released YouTube video that documents this year's Taos alternative break trip.

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