UPDATE 12/20/16 @ 7:55 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Fifteen families who lost everything they owned to floodwaters were handed the keys to new, tiny homes Tuesday afternoon.
Through the "Big Hearts Give Tiny Homes" project, 15 homes were constructed by more than 2,000 students from 12 high schools across West Virginia.
All of the tiny homes were open to the public to tour at a special ceremony at the Airlift Wing of the West Virginia National Guard in Charleston.
Each tiny home is fully furnished with a living room, kitchen, bathroom and beds. They also come with heating units and washers and dryers.
"It's pretty exciting because this is what we built. Everyone saying it's great, makes you feel good, because you did something really good," Dakota Adkins, a senior at Nicholas High School, said.
Students say each house costs around $20,000 to build, made possible by grants. Students also worked with businesses and organizations in their communities to get donations for the homes.
Clay County resident Kay Coleman was among those who received a tiny new home Tuesday.
"I'm very, very happy," Coleman said. "It's a healthy place for my granddaughter and me to be because I have mold in my other trailer."
Coleman says she's been living in a mobile home without a roof for the last six months.
"A tree fell on it and knocked big holes in it. So we just stay in one end of it mostly," she said.
But now, thanks to high school students with big hearts, Coleman and her family will have a new roof over their heads this Christmas.
The schools participating in "Big Hearts Give Tiny Homes" were:
- Cabell County Career Center Calhoun
- Gilmer Career Center
- Carver Career Center
- Fayette Institute of Technology
- James Rumsey Technical Institute
- Marion County Career Center
- Mingo County High School
- Monogalia Technical Center
- Nicholas County Career Center
- Putnam County Career Center
- Spring Valley High School
- Wyoming County Career Center
ORIGINAL STORY 12/20/16
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Some West Virginia residents whose homes were destroyed by last summer's floods are getting new places to live.
A presentation ceremony for the Big Hearts Give Tiny Homes project was held Tuesday at the West Virginia Air National Guard base in Charleston.
The Department of Education says 12 career and technical centers built 15 small homes for families whose lives were torn apart.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says he's "blown away" by the design and the speed at which the students built the fully furnished homes.
While some recipients of the homes attended the ceremony, Department of Education career and technical education chief Kathy D'Antoni says six others have yet to be identified.
The June 23 floods killed 23 people and destroyed or damaged thousands of homes, businesses, schools and infrastructure.