Habitat duplex finished for families

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— After four years of watching and helping her house go up, board by board, Ellen Slobodnik has one more thing to do: On Wednesday afternoon, she will stand on her porch during an official dedication ceremony and thank the 100-plus Habitat for Humanity volunteers who made her home possible.

At the ceremony, Slobodnik and her duplex neighbor, Jessica Copeland, will be given keys and a Bible in the ceremonial tradition of Habitat for Humanity.

Ellen, her husband, Isaac, and her two children moved into the duplex in West End Village almost a month ago.

There is still a little trim work and landscaping to finish, but those tasks are small compared to the hurdles she has overcome since Nov. 6, 2001, when she found out she had been chosen as a recipient for a Habitat for Humanity home. She attended a groundbreaking ceremony in June 2003 and then the waiting began.

The framing for the duplex happened quickly, but a lack of a volunteer coordinator and a change of project managers mid-build slowed construction to a crawl.

Slobodnik never complained. She works as a draftsperson for architect Laura Frey and knows the construction business. She drew up the plans and arranged the permits as part of her required sweat-equity contribution to the price of the house.

The two-story duplex has three bedrooms and 1 3/4 bathrooms in each unit.

Through Habitat, Slobodnik was able to buy her house for an interest-free $120,000 and 350 sweat equity hours. The other side of the duplex belongs to 21-year-old Jessica Copeland.

"This is the only way I could afford a house in Steamboat," Copeland said during a February interview.

After the crowds clear from Wednesday's dedication ceremony, Habitat for Humanity will turn its attention to a duplex being built on a nearby lot. The organization now has a volunteer coordinator, Jen Jones, and project manager Gary Frey is still on staff.

Habitat for Humanity is looking for volunteers to help complete construction. Experience is helpful but not necessary. Call 879-1290 or 871-6101.

-- To reach Autumn Phillips call 871-4210 or e-mail aphillips@steamboatpilot.com

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