Holly Nartker, Valerie Taylor's teacher, left, and Carly Conover, right, a Southview High School advisor flank the sides of Valerie Taylor, center, to share a moment while students and the family gather to prepare for the D4AC Project HAVEN.
Southview High School’s Project HAVEN kicked off Tuesday with the goal of building a home for the family of Southview student Valerie Taylor who has cerebral palsy.
HAVEN stands for Home Accessibility for Val's Exceptional Needs.
The 16-year-old sophomore uses a 400-pound motorized wheelchair.
She lives, with her mother, Veronica, and father, Tom, in a 1,200-square-foot home dating to the 1940s that lacks handicapped-accessible features.
The goal is to raze the structure on Cason Avenue in Sylvania Township, and replace it with a 1,500-square-foot home that would be easier for Valerie to navigate.
The local Professional Remodelers Organization has thrown its support behind the project, and the construction class from Southview is to be heavily involved.
The school's Dance for a Chance fund-raiser from noon to midnight March 31 has made Project HAVEN its cause this year.
Dave Rumpf, president of the remodelers' group, recommended razing the Taylor home. "It was handmade in the 1940s," he said.
"It has 18 inches of rubble for a foundation. There were no rules or regulations in the [Sylvania] township then, so you could build whatever you wanted."
He estimated the cost of a new home at $80,000 to $100,000.
The entire project is to be completed through fund-raising and other donations.
Mrs. Taylor, a paraprofessional at Southview, said the new home would make a huge difference in her family's quality of life. "The wheelchair can get through the front door and into the living room and through the kitchen door, but it gets stuck in other doorways," she said.