Extreme Home Makeover comes to Joplin
Jen Rainey | Collegio Reporter
Some PSU students will be helping rebuild Joplin and gain national exposure Oct. 19-26. That’s when Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, a show on the ABC television network, will be filming students and other area residents in Joplin, Mo. They will be building houses that were torn down after the May 22 tornado.
“Helping Joplin is something I’m very adamant about,” said Michael Halsey, senior in construction management. “I went to Joplin the night of the tornado and assisted in the search and rescue for the next 10 days. I had friends and relatives affected directly by the tornado, so there was no other option for me other than helping in any way possible.”
Logistics of labor
There are four areas of the project: safety, staging and logistics of the construction material, equipment operators and Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).
“I will act as an active COBRA team member,” Halsey said. “I’ll be working hand in hand with project managers, builders and tradesmen and women in order to assist in any way possible to help with the completion of the homes.”
Each house will have a COBRA team working 12-hour shifts. Pittsburg State has been selected to control all safety for the entire project and Halsey is one of two project managers. Workers must have experience in residential construction to be on a COBRA team and they will be assisting with work such as framing homes and mulching for landscaping. All members of the safety team must possess at least 10 hours of certification with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), but most of them have over 30 hours of certification. There will be at least one safety officer assigned to each house for every shift. However, Halsey says safety is up to everyone involved in the project.
Safety in numbers
“With nearly 9,000 volunteers on the project, safety has to be up to everyone and there can’t be enough watchful eyes looking out for one another,” Halsey said.
Members of the staging and logistics team were selected based on their organizational skills and exemplary knowledge of residential building materials. They will be in charge of inventorying all items used in the building and finishing processes. They will also be storing materials and supplying the building sites with proper materials. Equipment operators will operate forklifts and drive material from the staging areas to the appropriate houses. Drew Schreiner will be working as a lull operator on the first of seven houses being built.
“A lull is basically an off-road forklift,” said Schreiner, senior in construction management. “The difficult part will be having so many people on site all at once. Everyone will need to work together in a safe, timely manner.”
Both Schreiner and Halsey will be working the overnight shift from 8 p.m.-8 a.m. every night. 125-135 Pittsburg State University students will assist in building these homes. Team leaders sought students and faculty via emails and an online application. The students will work under the direction of Justin Honey, assistant professor in construction management and construction engineering technologies. The episode featuring this project will be a two-hour special for the 200th episode. The show airs Sunday nights from 8-9.
The bigger picture
“Our students are giving up their fall break weekend in order to be a part of this. That in itself, says something amazing about the quality of character of our people at Pittsburg State University,” Halsey said. “We will almost all go unnoticed and we are okay with that, because what we are doing is bigger than any of us.”