published Sunday, February 13th, 2011

'Extreme Makeover' puts Chattanooga in spotlight today


by Andy Johns
  • photo
    Staff Photo by Allison Carter/Chattanooga Times Free Press Friday at KMT Creative Jennifer Taylor stuffs sponsor packets with VIP passes for the Extreme Home Makeover that will be in the Chattanooga area. The exact people who will receive a home makeover will be revealed Sunday.

Television star Ty Pennington is scheduled to fire up his famous bullhorn about 10 a.m. today, telling one local family they have been chosen for the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" build coming to Chattanooga.

Officials and staff have remained tight-lipped about the location and the family's identity, but said they would announce the details shortly after the family finds out.

After packing up and moving their belongings, the family will be whisked away to a vacation -- usually a Disney theme park -- and the crew will go to work with demolition Monday morning.

That will kick off a gargantuan around-the-clock construction effort that runs for a full week, a routine familiar to millions of people who watch yet another house go up on the ABC show.

But for now, even those building the house don't know where they're going.

"Everything's just 'We'll give you an address at a later date,'" said David Johnston, operations manager for East Chattanooga Lumber. "We're ready now just in case. Logistically, I'll be amazed to see this thing take off."

Contractors finished the new house's 54 prefabricated wall framing panels Thursday night, and supplies continue to pour in. East Chattanooga Lumber has a stockpile of floor tile, appliances, bath fixtures and hard hats ready to go into the new home.

Craig Smith, co-owner of Vision Homes, which is leading the build, said he is optimistic about one of his biggest areas of concern. The National Weather Service is calling for sunny days and moderate temperatures for most of the week.

At the initial news conference announcing the build, Smith had said a dose of bad weather could make the project more difficult and certainly less fun.

CONTINUED COVERAGE

• Visit www.timesfreepress.com throughout the day for updates and live blogging from the scene starting at 5 p.m. today.

• Watch our site all this week for updates from the build site, and complete reports every day in the print edition of the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

• Catch updates on the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" build on WRCB-3 live during morning newscasts 4:30-7 a.m. as well as the 11a.m., 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts.

"In a typical build schedule, you can take a rain day or a snow day," he said, but not when the build team has only 106 hours from the teardown to showing the home off to the family and cameras.

Beth Johnson of KMT Creative, which has handled the local marketing push for the show, said she continues to be impressed with the number of volunteers streaming in.

"I'm absolutely amazed how Chattanooga has gotten behind this," she said. "Thousands of people are rallying behind this one family."

About 4,700 local residents volunteered, according to KMT. The number so exceeded demand, many volunteers had to be turned away.

Officials said a spectator area should be set up near the site by Tuesday for curious onlookers.

Contact staff writer Andy Johns at ajohns@timesfreepress.com or call 423-757-6324.

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

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