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When it comes to building a new group home for individuals with special needs, there is a great deal more to consider than there is for your average home. And such a project demands a special builder — one with years of construction experience, insight and patience.

After a monthslong search, Marsha Shankleton, Duvall Homes’ chief operating officer, found the perfect builder.

Duvall Homes has been serving the Central Florida community since 1945 as a nonprofit organization that provides residential supportive care and services for people with developmental disabilities. Based in DeLand with administrative offices in Glenwood, Duvall operates 16 group homes in West Volusia, with a new one on its way.

Last spring, Duvall Homes began searching for a site for the new home. It needed to be close to public transportation and large enough on which to build a 3,800-square-foot home for six residents who are cared for 24/7 by certified direct-support professionals. The home would need both living and office space, a spacious porch and grounds for enjoying the outdoors, and sufficient parking for special-needs vehicles. A 2.5-acre plot eventually was obtained north of DeLand.

So who is the builder?

Meet Tanya Ebersole, licensed contractor and owner of Camelot Custom Construction Inc. Originally part of a father-daughter team, Ebersole grew up on construction sites. With more than 30 years of experience in residential and commercial construction, she came highly recommended.

After testing her skills in a recent renovation of another Duvall group home, Ebersole proved herself to be understanding of Duvall’s process and the sensitivities surrounding the residents, while being mindful of a strict budget and licensing requirements.

“Barring adverse weather, the new group home should be ready this summer,” said Ebersole, a Parade of Homes Grand Award winner with offices in DeLand and Okeechobee.

Ebersole built grant-funded projects before, so she was familiar with the extra qualifying work. Not fun for the typical builder looking to maximize profit and minimize time.

“It’s worth it to me. I get to work with a fantastic group of people who take care of people who can’t take care of themselves,” added Ebersole.

Ebersole and Shankleton have ensured there are many green upgrades, including Energy Star-rated appliances, water-wise plumbing fixtures, SEER 16 air-conditioning systems and more.

“In my 48 years of construction, Tanya is by far the very best I’ve had the pleasure of working with,” said Thurman “Stump” Reynolds, owner of C&R Roofing Enterprises Inc. “She treats her clients and her subcontractors with the greatest respect.”

Camelot Custom Construction is a great example of a local business taking the time to learn about the mission of Duvall Homes. The more the community gets involved with the projects and activities at Duvall, the more they learn about the positive impact people with developmental disabilities make on a community.

Families and guardians interested in learning about supportive residential living are encouraged to visit DuvallHomes.org or email lhabermehl@duvallhomes.org.

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