(From Pittsburg State University)
A few years ago when professor Justin Honey began thinking about how his students in the Construction Management and Construction Engineering Technology Department at Pittsburg State University could get some exciting, real-world experience, he sent a letter to producers at the ABC hit "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," offering their services should the show ever come to this part of the country.
Now nearly four months after the infamous Joplin tornado cut a swath of destruction through the city, the construction management students at PSU are getting their chance.
This October, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" will film a show unlike any before: In one week, seven homes will be built. Producers have announced it will air as a two-hour special and will be the show's 200th episode.
A milestone for the Emmy award-winning production, the experience will also be like none other for more than 100 PSU students who will be playing a large role in the construction of those homes.
"To have been given this much responsibility is incredible," Honey said. "We had to show them that our students not only have the academic knowledge, but also the field experience to back it up. Right now we're laying the groundwork to make sure everything goes off without a hitch."
Pittsburg State's CMCET students will work in four primary areas when the show films in Joplin the week of Oct. 19-26: The students will supply all-around support teams (known as "Cobra" teams) for each home under construction; are solely responsible for on-site safety and OSHA compliance for all construction personnel and tradesmen; and will take care of material staging and handling, which means making sure material is brought up to the job sites as soon as it is needed.
For Honey and the eight construction management seniors who make up his project management team, this means performing countless interviews with other students who are interested in volunteering for the massive project and selecting the best. In total, more than 100 students will rotate 12-hour shifts during those seven days, working alongside professional construction companies from across the area. Nearly half of those students will be assigned to the Cobra teams, which give them a chance to be the "right hand" men and women working alongside professionals.
"The belief of our faculty in construction is that these students will gain more knowledge in that one week than they will sitting in any of our classrooms," said Honey, adding that faculty members and even Technology Dean Dr. Bruce Dallman will volunteer for those 12-hour shifts with students.
Although the seniors are using the mega-build as their main project for Senior Projects, their capstone course this fall, there is no extra credit being awarded for participation - they're all simply volunteering their time.
"Working on a project of this size and intensity is an experience like no other," said Kelsey Mullis, a senior construction management major and member of the PSU project management team. "When we put the word out that we were looking for students, we were flooded with offers to volunteer."
Honey is proud that the PSU team will comprise one of the largest groups to participate in the upcoming build, and that the program's outstanding reputation has led to an opportunity like this. "This is a tremendous challenge to make everything come together," he said. "But it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
For more information on PSU's involvement with the show, contact Honey at 620-235-6149, email@example.com.