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Construction begun May 18, 1992 — The Home was dedicated July 4, 1992
• More than 50 north American companies donated products and more than two dozen volunteers traveled from the States to make the project a reality.
• Estimated cost if built in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois in 1992: $120,000, including the lot. (The lot in Russia was initially provided by the City; it is now being leased--for 49 years--by Serendipity.)
• Cost of building the Home in Russia, including the estimated value of the donated materials and labor and shipping charges: $225,000.
Above and beyond the donated materials and labor, Serendipity invested an initial $125,000 in the project; this included shipping costs, materials that weren't donated, and all costs in Russia, including room and board (and sightseeing) for the volunteer builders.
• Built as a 1,400 square foot ranch (counting the main floor only) with three bedrooms, two bathrooms on the main level, eat-in kitchen, laundry area, two-car garage, a full basement, and useable attic space.
Taking into account the finished basement, the waiting area in the garage, and the finished space in the attic, approximately 3,000 square feet (a little less than 280 sq. meters) are now being used.
• The basement includes three classrooms, a large meeting room / classroom, a half bath, and what was initially a small office for the teachers. The office was converted to a library in 2004 when the teachers moved to a much larger room in the attic.
• The exterior walls are 8 in. thick, with 6 in. of insulation, a vapor barrier, and 1 in. of dead air space; there is extra attic insulation (a total of R 32), and energy efficient windows and exterior doors. Thanks to its design and materials, the Home is much more comfortable than most Russians thought possible.
• The Home was built with in-home natural gas heating and hot water – not standard in Russia. The siding and roofing were also unusual for Russia.
• There is a log fireplace in the kitchen controlled by a thermostat which is the backup heating system for the Home.
• There is filtration for drinking water in the kitchen and a particle filtration system for the entire Home.
• There is a main and a backup transformer which convert the 220 volt Russian current to 110 volt – the Home is wired for both 220 and 110 current; lighting, appliances, etc. have largely been converted to the 220 volt current now that good quality electrical products are readily available in Vladimir.
• In1999, in response to vandalism committed by an extremist Russian political group that was trying (unsuccessfully) to mobilize public opposition to US foreign policy in Iraq and Yugoslavia, a 5-camera video security system was installed.
• In 1999 the original parquet flooring was covered over by laminate flooring. With now more than 500 students enrolled in the English program, plus all the additional traffic the Home's other activities generates, the flooring is obviously subjected to a great deal more traffic than is the case for a standard single family house.
• In 2004 a new office for the teachers, additional storage, and a fifth classroom were added in the attic, and about two thirds of the garage was converted to a pleasant waiting area for students and visitors – every available square inch of the Home is now being utilized.
• In 2010 a staircase emergency exit from the basement was built on the side of the house closest to the Traktir restaurant, and the furnace was moved to a newly built ground-level room attached to the back wall of the master bedroom in order to meet safety requirements issued by the City "fire marshal's" office. And the "tank" hot water system was replaced by an "on-demand" hot water system.
• In 2011, in response to a brick being thrown through the window above the garage, the existing 5 camera pre-digital video security system was replaced a digital 7-camera system. (There was no evidence that the incident was politically motivated.)
• In 2012, in partial preparation for the celebration of the American Home's 20th anniversary, a new metal fence was installed and the lawn was completely replaced
• In 2013 the flooring was once more replaced throughout the heaviest traffic areas, a number of the interior walls were repainted.
DR. ED FRANCIS, DESIGNER AND CONSTRUCTION SUPERVISOR
BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL HOME BUILDERS ASSOCIATION MEMBERS AND OTHERS
Randy Raper, Association President
Wayne & Jean Childers
ILLINOIS STATE UNIVERSITY INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY STUDENTS & OTHERS
MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS Bloomington-Normal Home Builders Association
Fife Florida Electrical Supply,Inc.
Kara Schaper Interior and Design
Square D Company
ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTORS Alexander Lumber Co.
Black and Decker
Clark and Barlow Hardware Desa International
East Pasco Interiors
Fisher Controls International GAF
Gates and Sons Manufacturing Gerber Plumbing Fixtures Corp. Ronn Ginn, Architect
Holt Supply Company
Hundman Lumber Co.
Hunter-Douglas Window Fashions
Modahl and Scott
Nimbus Water Systems
Osburn Manufacturing Company
Raynor Garage Doors
The Stuck Company
Jim Walter Int'l Sales Corp.
HIGH END AUDIO/VIDEO CONTRIBUTORS
The Academy for the Advancement of High End Audio Acoustic Research
B & K Components, Ltd. Counterpoint Electronic Systems
Custom Woodwork & Design (CWD)
Krell Industries, Inc.
Lexicon Marantz USA McCormack
Thomson Consumer Electronics
The Tweak Shop
VPI Industries, Inc.