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Friday, July 11, 2014

'Extreme Makeover' home ahead of schedule, only details remain

By Travis Heying
The Wichita Eagle

Work continued at a frenzied pace Tuesday as the "Extreme Makeover" house under construction for former WSU baseball player Carl Hall and his family neared completion.

Workers carried trees and shrubs to the home near K-42 and Maize Road to be used as landscaping. Bob Cook, of Derby's Bob Cook homes, said tile work and cabinetry inside the home is finished. Interior painting was under way and exterior painting was to start soon.

"Just the details," Cook said about the work that remains. "This is the end of it."

The "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" team is creating a dream home for former Shocker baseball star Carl Hall, who was paralyzed from the neck down after a June car accident in Kingman County.

The Halls' original home wasn't wheelchair accessible, and the family was forced to move to a smaller, rented condo.

Sitting in a VIP section near the construction site on Tuesday were several members of Hall's immediate family. His mother, Louise, wore a white hard hat with the words "Mom Hall" written on the front. His sister, Teresa Hall Bartels, in town from the Chicago area, marveled at what was taking shape before them.

"We had planned to build a home for Carl and Stacey and their family and when 'Home Makeover' came along, it just really lifted an incredible burden," she said. "And what they're able to do is going to give Carl so much more independence."

She said the ranch-style home will feature many amenities to help Hall. Some of those include an elevator giving him access to a full basement, a device to help him get from a bed to the bathroom, and voice-activated controls that will allow him to turn lights on and off and open and close doors.

His sister also spoke about how she thinks he will react when he sees the home for the first time later this week.

"Carl has always been a very positive person, even when he was a little boy," Hall Bartels said.

"This accident took a lot out of him initially, and as he was going through rehab, he made a decision ... much like he did when he was a baseball player, that you have to deal with whatever adversity comes along. You have to do the best you can with the cards you are dealt. When he sees this house and realizes that it's going to give him a new lease on life, he will be completely overwhelmed.

"I'm not sure he can really express how he feels, but I can bet you there will be tears," Hall Bartel said.

The home is scheduled to be revealed to the Hall family at about 3 p.m. Thursday, and the event is open to the public. They're asked to park at Mel Hambelton Ford on west Kellogg, where they'll be picked up and shuttled to the spectator area. The shuttle will run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Thursday.

For those interested in volunteering at the build site, the best opportunities are during the overnight shifts, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. and again from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. Volunteers must be 18 years or older. Find more information at www.wichitaextreme.com.

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