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Dogwood Homes, others part of Extreme Makeover project in area

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By Stephen Thomas

LOUISVILLE - By offering a charitable contribution, a Bullitt County company will soon shine in a national television spotlight.

Dogwood Homes, a homebuilder company based in Shepherdsville, was selected by Elite Homes to assist in a project for the ABC television series, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

The show is in Louisville to build a new home for the family of Patrick Henry Hughes, a 19-year-old paralyzed and blind University of Louisville student.

As a bonus project, the show will also provide a renovated marching band practice facility at U of L. Hughes performs with the band while his father, Patrick John Hughes, pushed his wheelchair around the field in step with the band.

Dogwood Homes owner/president Richard Miles said his company was selected by Elite homes as a second builder to make improvements at the band field.

"We're organizing everything," he said. "A lot of our contractors are donating labor."

According to Miles, Hughes and his father were learning band performances in a difficult fashion. The practice field was not handicapped-accessible and the field too choppy for the wheelchair to roll. On many occasions Hughes sat on the sidelines, sometimes in inclement weather, while his father watched and learned the moves.

"When the band practices the boy doesn't practice with them," said Miles. "We're building a three-sided pavilion for him with lights and electricity."

Dogwood Homes has designed a new handicapped-accessible grand entrance to the field. They will also erect a new 12'x40' storage facility for the band's instruments.

Miles pointed to a lone water fountain on the practice field site.

"We're adding five new water fountains," he said.

Miles mentioned Henderson Electric of Louisville was installing new lighting throughout the field.

The field itself will also be renovated. Miles said the surface would be smoothed out and painted.

"It's really going to be an extreme makeover," he said. "It's a real neat deal to get Bullitt County in as a part of this. We're helping the entire band."

Kenneth Dietz, Director of Planning, Design and Construction for U of L, admitted that the current field experienced draining and lighting issues.

"When we get done we'll have a lit field, drinking fountains and an observation area," said Dietz. "The father can learn the marching routes and there's protection for Patrick."

Dietz said additional parking, including handicapped parking, will be added near the field.

"The contracting community has been wonderful," he said. "This is all donated goods. The university is really thankful."

Dietz mentioned that the practice field would remain available to all students as an intramural area.

Miles said about 40 to 50 volunteers would work each day at the site. The practice field project began Thursday and would be completed on Monday.

"We work on different specifics each day," he said. "We have 20 direct employees volunteering, plus 40 to 50 each day through sub-contractors, about 80 to 100 volunteers total."

Miles noted a 24-hour video camera placed at the practice field site that would capture all of the updates.

The Hughes' new home would be ready by Wednesday and presented to the family for the television show. Miles said volunteers were invited to a special celebration dinner at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville Wednesday night.

Vendors, suppliers and contractors assisting with the marching band practice field project include Quality Stone, Boland Maloney Lumber, Ferguson Plumbing Supplies, Cross Country, Quality Plumbing, R&R Concrete, K&M Painting and Mike Prahl.

Food vendors donating during the project include Thornton's, Wal-Mart, Little Ceasers Hillview, Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken, The Spaghetti Shop, Buffalo Wild Wings and Havana Kola. Hester's Family Fitness and Whatever It Takes Transmission donated money towards food.