New Community Space at The Foundation!

Athens Habitat is the proud new owner of a brand new community space!

The new space is located at The Foundation, an apartment complex located on 1645 E Broad St. This area in particular is a testament to the work that Habitat has been doing in the community. Prior to Habitat’s involvement, The Foundation was riddled with crime and was an unsafe place to live. In 2010 Athens Habitat bought the property, renovated the units, and created a haven for deserving families to call home. Potential tenants must apply to live in a Habitat rental property, meet our minimal income qualifications, and submit a police background report before they can lease a unit. All of this plays in to creating an affordable and safe environment for Athens families to start a better life.

The biggest flaw in this property that still remained was 4,700 sq feet area in between buildings that was completely unused. This is where UGA’s College of Environment and Design stepped in to fulfill our need.

Since 1970, Landscape Architecture students from across North America gather annually to share ideas, hear speakers, and participate in design competitions in an event called LABash. This year, UGA’s College of Environment and Design was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to host it right here in Athens.

Donnie Longenecker, the coordinator for the design competition and lecturer at UGA, started planning for this event at last year’s LABash. He and Bob Anderson of Permaloc, the project’s main sponsor, worked together the past year to make their idea a reality. The students who participated in this year’s LABash were encouraged to team up and submit a plan for a community space in a quick-fire completion conducted by Pratt Cassidy of the UGA Center of Community & Design and Preservation. The competition allowed students to get real experience in design while strengthening ties between UGA and Athens businesses and nonprofits. At least 60 students from 18 different universities across the nation showed up to compete.

“As a professor, you love to see students get their hands dirty both at the drafting table and in the field. This project was perfect for that. It involved so many different and diverse people all working on something that really improved the lives of folks in a small but very physical way. It is a win-win project from the word go!” – Pratt Cassidy

The submissions were judged by a panel of experts comprised of sponsors, UGA faculty, Habitat staff, and Tom Tavella, the president of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Once the winning teams were chosen, the construction commenced.

Athens Habitat had two groups of college students devote their spring breaks to bettering our community, one from Westminster College in Pennsylvania, and the other from St. Joseph’s College in Indiana. Each of the groups spent a week with Habitat staff and Greg Denzin of G&G Landscaping and Design. They grated, filled, and laid a paver system to get the area ready for the LABash deigns.

Over the next month and a half, volunteers would cycle through the work site and pour their effort and energy into building something beautiful for people they didn’t know. The project was officially completed on May 3rd, 2013 and the residents are already making use of the new space and all it has to offer their families. A week before the build was complete, a group of high school students took their prom pictures in from of the arbor built with help from the UGA Material Reuse Lab.

Thank you to all the support from the UGA College of Environment and Design and the sponsors for all your hard work. See for yourself just how wonderful this addition is to the Athens community at 1645 E Broad St.