UT Architecture students using skills in the Knoxville community

UT Architecture students using skills in the Knoxville community

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Some UT architecture students are taking what they're learning in the classroom into the community.  Over the last several weeks, they’ve been designing and building new front and back entrances for an East Knoxville woman’s home. Some UT architecture students are taking what they're learning in the classroom into the community. Over the last several weeks, they’ve been designing and building new front and back entrances for an East Knoxville woman’s home.
"Both my porches were really bad. They were falling down. Very unsafe to go down,” said Barbara Beilke. "Both my porches were really bad. They were falling down. Very unsafe to go down,” said Barbara Beilke.
Now, the new ones are just days from completion. Now, the new ones are just days from completion.
By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Some UT architecture students are taking what they're learning in the classroom into the community. Over the last several weeks, they’ve been designing and building new front and back entrances for an East Knoxville woman’s home.

They will complete the project at the end of the week. The homeowner has been needing the work for years but couldn’t afford it.

Barbara Beilke says the sounds of construction outside her home for the last two weeks have been music to her ears.

She’s so thankful for the team of UT architecture students who are busy building her brand new front and back porches. Her old ones were in disrepair.

"Both my porches were really bad. They were falling down. Very unsafe to go down,” said Beilke.

Now, the new ones are just days from completion.

"I never even dreamed I could find somebody to help me,” said Beilke.

It's all part of this year's project by the UT architecture program’s Freedom By Design student organization. The students design and build decks completely for free for people in need, chosen based on both financial and medical need.

Beilke is their third client. Her back troubles make it hard for her to walk.

"I wouldn't have been able to do it. I just couldn't,” said Beilke.

While giving back, the students are getting to see firsthand how a real life project works from start to finish.

"Going through all the steps it takes to get something actually built. From pouring the footers and digging the holes to putting up the last deck board,” said Thomas Agee, a senior UT architecture student.

Ten to 15 students have been working in shifts on the project, set to wrap up by Friday, May 16.

The new front entrance includes a 36-feet long ramp for easier accessibility.

"I will be able to sit out there every night and enjoy it,” said Beilke.

The project has been a success not only for the students, but for their more than satisfied client.

"Seeing the client come out with a big smile on her face, actually able to walk around on her deck actually able to use it,” said Agee.

"I thank my boys. I love each and every one of them,” said Beilke. “They're architects and I'm so proud of them. I'm really proud of them."

All the materials and tools used for the project were made available through donations.

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