There is a great need for affordable housing in Muncie. To address this need, local non-profit organizations, including Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity, ecoREHAB, Urban Light and Muncie Mission, have been renovating existing houses for local residents. To quote Carl Elefante, former president of the American Institute of Architects, “The greenest building is the one that already exists”. Since renovations require individualized evaluations and redesigns, they needed assistance, and turned to the Construction Management program. In 2012 Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity asked Janet Fick, Associate Lecturer of Construction Management, Registered Architect, LEED AP, to coordinate a group of students for this purpose. Through the years this collaboration has grown to include several other community partners. The emphases for all houses are affordability, energy efficiency, longevity and constructibility.

For eighteen semesters Janet Fick has led the CM 230 (Renovation of Residential Structures) course. Her students have designed the renovations of 47 houses in Muncie for these community partners. Due to its success, CM 230 has been the recipient of four Immersive Learning Grants and an Immersive Learning Award for Mrs. Fick. Over the years 214 students from a variety of Ball State Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning majors, including construction management, architecture, and interior design, have provided the documents to successfully renovate these structures, which are now occupied by families.

The students gained real world experience in meeting the needs and wants of their clients to produce a final design. For each house, the students conducted a feasibility study, made recommendations, and developed construction documents to remodel the houses. Additionally, the students provided estimates of the overall costs and color renderings of the revised spaces. Some houses were not salvageable, and in those cases the students designed new houses to meet the specifications. These houses have been constructed repeatedly throughout Muncie. The Anderson Habitat for Humanity has additionally requested permission to use these drawings to construct houses in Anderson. Therefore, in actuality this class is responsible for the construction of many more than 47 houses.

The Renovation of Residential Structures course has not only had an impact on our community partners, but it has had an impact on the city of Muncie and the students. Students appreciated the opportunity to help others by utilizing the skills they have learned at Ball State to create real world solutions. The legacy of this class will hopefully continue for many years.

By Janet Fick
Associate Lecturer of Construction Management