The University of Richmond will continue its involvement in the Highland Park neighborhood by building a second house there this spring in partnership with Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity.

For two months, beginning Feb. 24, students, faculty, staff and alumni will construct the home on East Brookland Park Blvd. Up to 15 volunteers per day will work Wednesdays through Saturdays each week. University employees will receive a day of paid leave to work at the project. A celebration will be held at the site April 8.

In 2008, the university built its first Highland Park home, continuing its long tradition of partnership with Richmond Habitat for Humanity.

Matt Wentworth, a Leonardtown, Md., junior and president of the campus Habitat chapter, said chapter members are excited about the upcoming build.

“We have donated a portion of the cost of the build, but we are most excited about coordinating the volunteers and educational programs surrounding it. While promoting the build on campus, we also are looking forward to bringing the real challenges of affordable housing to light for students,” Wentworth said.

“Our chapter is full of caring individuals ready to do what they can, and we are all excited for a chance to not just volunteer at a build site, but be a part of seeing a house through from start to finish," he said.

Build It and Richmond Habitat for Humanity officials say the new house will be built to EarthCraft certification. The program rates new construction in a variety of energy efficiency categories, including site planning, resource-efficient building materials, indoor air quality, water conservation, homeowner education and waste management.

For several years, the university’s largest civic engagement initiative has been known as Build It – although the program goes far beyond constructing homes. Build It currently partners with six schools and organizations in Highland Park, providing services such as tutoring, mentoring, technology instruction, health and nutrition education, leadership development and labor for neighborhood redevelopment projects.

“Build It develops long-term, reciprocal community partnerships that create experiential-learning opportunities for students while helping fulfill unmet needs in the community,” said Cassie Price, community initiatives and program coordinator for the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) at the university.

Faculty members often include community engagement through Build It in their courses, and CCE sponsors a brown-bag discussion series that often includes programs about affordable housing, the mortgage crisis and other housing issues. In March, CCE will sponsor a walking tour of Highland Park that will include stops at Build It service locations.