BOONE — The welcome mat is on the porch and the first completed home built through a partnership between Appalachian State University’s App Builds a Home and Watauga County Habitat for Humanity was dedicated at 2 p.m. on May 30 in a virtual Facebook Live ceremony. The ABAH team celebrates the achievement while planning a second home, the construction of which will begin this fall.

ABAH is a campuswide initiative to build Habitat homes for local families in need, with Appalachian students, faculty and staff working together to design, fund and build the homes.

The first ABAH home, for the Barker family, was completed in May. ABAH raised more than $95,000 and organized volunteers to build the home, which was designed by Appalachian’s Integrative Design Experience Laboratory.

The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the project by a few weeks as volunteer work at the build site was suspended.

“Luckily, the majority of the construction was done except for a few finishing touches,” said Kayla McDougle, a senior interior design major from Greensboro who is president of Appalachian’s Habitat for Humanity Club and a member of the ABAH planning team. “Watauga Habitat was able to use a small team of workers that could safely complete the last bit of work on the house.”

Allison Jennings, director of development at Watauga Habitat, said, “COVID-19 has stopped everyone in their tracks, but the students of App State continue to find creative ways to support affordable housing opportunities in our community. Now more than ever, everyone has been forced to consider the importance of having an affordable and safe place to call home.”

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