Written by Emma Fields // Photo provided by Kennedy Hix
Current Harding students are not only building houses but a future together. Junior Kennedy Hix and graduate student Jonathan Wall, who met during Chapel two years ago and have since worked on several housing projects together, are newly engaged and looking forward to their shared life ahead.
Kennedy Hix’s father owns a company in Lafayette, Tennessee, called “Dale Hix Construction.” She and her five siblings worked with their father every summer starting at age 12, and by 18, they were allowed to build their own houses.
Kennedy Hix’s brother, sophomore Noah Hix, has built close to 50 houses with his family and has one house that is on the market. He said there are many rewarding aspects of building houses.
“I love that my dad loves it,” Noah Hix said. “We’ll be at Disney World and he’ll still be working because he loves it so much. We love building homes for other people. It makes us happy to be a part of people starting to build a family.”
Wall said that Dale Hix is well-known in their community.
“He’s working on a subdivision right now and has probably built over a third of the houses in town,” Wall said.
Kennedy Hix has three houses in her name but has assisted in the completion of over 60. One of her houses was put on the market last week. When asked about her most rewarding and challenging experiences, she said building her first house was a combination of both. She said the house sits atop a hill and has a wonderful view, but before construction took place, the land was entirely rock and covered in trees.
“It’s a wonderful view, but clearing it and putting in a driveway took forever,” Kennedy Hix said. “We actually broke a mini-excavator and Bobcat in the process. It was nice to see it finally done and cleared.”
Over the summer, Kennedy Hix and Wall worked together on two housing projects. For these projects, the Hix family went through a multiple-step process involving working with real estate agents to find land, applying for loans, having surveyors ensure everything was up to code then finally bringing in teams to build the house from foundation to completion.
Wall said their building team faced several problems over the summer.
“The framing truck was down and the delivery guy couldn’t deliver the wood for a week straight,” Wall said. “We lifted all of the wood for three houses. We unloaded three houses by hand.”
Part of Wall’s involvement in the project was clearing out trees on the property. He has his own tree business called “Cut Her Down Tree Service” which he started in Fort Worth, Texas, though he does occasional tree work in Searcy. He said his business helped pay his way through college.
Kennedy Hix and Wall said couples who want to start building houses together should avoid building large houses and instead start on a small scale with small pieces of land. Both noted the impact the house-building process can have on a relationship. Kennedy Hix said couples can learn conflict management from the process. Wall said building a house together can affect a marriage.
“If you can build a house together, you can be married forever,” Wall said.