Over 20 members of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Student Chapter at BYU built a full-sized playhouse that was donated to the Festival of Trees in December. The playhouse was auctioned off for $9,000 with all proceeds going to the Primary Children’s Hospital.
The project came about when BYU alumnus Lynn Thomsen contacted the construction management program with the project to build a replica of his grandfather’s house to donate. Thomsen had an architect draw up plans and gave the students a budget to get it built.
The project was given to the students at the end of September and was completed the day after Thanksgiving. Clint Ethington, NAHB student chapter president, said it was a great experience for him and his fellow students.
“A lot of the students had never had any framing experience, so it was a good opportunity for them to get in there, get their hands dirty and really apply what we learn in class,” he said. “You can say, ‘build me a California corner’ and in your mind it makes sense, but when you get out there and you put the pieces together and throw a nail in there it starts clicking.”
Thomsen received a donation from Utah Community Credit Union for the cost of construction and the students got local companies like Jones Paint & Glass, Alside, Roofers Supply, Turn Key Interiors Inc., Warburton’s Inc., and Sunroc to donate supplies and time to the project. Ethington even went to the construction site of the new BYU engineering building and talked to one of the superintendents of Span Construction, Chad Lott. Span and Jacobsen Construction helped load the playhouse onto a trailer to deliver it to the festival.
Once it was completed and delivered, a Festival of Trees member decorated the playhouse to turn the house into a home. The experience allowed the students to look outside themselves, which was a beneficial experience.
“We were just happy to be able to help out and it’s good to give to the community,” Ethington said. ”While we are here in school, sometimes it’s easy to be so self-centered and only look out for number one, so it’s good to reach out and help other people.”
The playhouse had a lot of meaning for Thomsen. He said his wife died during the building process, so the project was a great way for him to get his mind off things and see a dream of his come true thanks to the students.
“I am an 84-year-old man, so for me it was establishing a legacy for my grandfather and my father,” Thomsen said. “The students at BYU did a beautiful job and they participated in the fulfillment of an old man’s dream. “