What started out as plans and pieces of wood now has taken shape as a children’s playhouse.
Spending 45 minutes every weekday since mid-January, Bryan Schroer and the 10 students in his ag power class at Trinity Lutheran High School have nearly completed the project for the school’s annual auction.
During that recent event at the Seymour school, the playhouse went to the Mau family for $1,900. The proceeds from the auction go toward tuition assistance for students.
Every year since 2005, Schroer and his students have donated an item to the auction.
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Size-wise, the playhouse is the largest item they have made. Projects in the past included a wooden Nativity scene, picnic tables and Adirondack chairs.
“The students will probably tell you they are ready to build a house now,” Schroer joked.
The playhouse is 8 feet wide and 8 feet long. The interior of it is just under 6-foot-by-6-foot, and a small porch was added to the front.
Pine and cedar wood were used for the framing and siding, and the wooden floor is treated for outside use. Work remaining includes putting shingles on the roof and adding a cedar stain to the wood.
Then it will be ready to deliver to the Mau family’s home. Schroer said the father was determined to get the playhouse because he had promised to build one for his young children. About a year and a half after doing that, the family moved here from Illinois and had to leave the playhouse behind.
In coming up with this year’s project for the auction, Schroer shared the idea of a playhouse with his students. He found plans instead of trying to build it from scratch.
After they read through the plans, the students were ready to build the base. They cut the 2-by-4s down, and then they started framing and setting the walls before building the rafters and trusses.
“It’s good to see them learn how to read the plans and understand how to put it together,” Schroer said. “When it started to take shape here in the last week when we got the frame and everything up and the walls, then they really got pretty excited about it. I think this class has enjoyed doing this more than any of the other projects.”
He said it was good to see the students work together.
“Everyone may have not been swinging a hammer at the same time, but everyone has kind of been there holding things in place,” he said. “Sometimes, on the framing around a window, I can have two or three working on that, so everyone has done a little bit more hands-on since it has been a little bit bigger (project).”
Junior Josiah Foster said he learned about using tools and building early on in the class, so the project was a good opportunity to apply what he learned.
“We’re really blessed to be able to do something like this because it’s nice to come out here at the end of the day instead of sitting in a classroom, and you can come in here and just make this stuff,” he said of working in the school’s agriculture building.
Sophomore Michael Claycamp said he has helped his parents build big barns and houses, but he had never built something like a playhouse.
“It’s nice being here at the smaller school being able to do bigger projects that you can’t offer at bigger schools,” said Claycamp, who transferred from Seymour High School to Trinity this school year. “It’s an opportunity you can’t really get anywhere else.”
The students estimated they have put in nearly 10 hours on the project.
“Seeing the first few days of it, it felt like we weren’t getting anywhere, but once we started putting on the first pieces of wall and stuff, it started taking shape, and it started looking nice,” Claycamp said.
“It looks really good, and it’s really awesome that it sold at the auction and was pretty successful,” Foster said. “It kind of opens the door for us to do more projects like this in the future.”
It took all 10 students to make it happen.
“It’s definitely a necessary project to have a lot of teamwork because some of the pieces are pretty heavy, and some people have to hold it while others drill and some measure,” Foster said.
“Being a small school and smaller classes, you can kind of joke around with each other and kind of push each other to do their best,” Claycamp said. “It’s like you can be fun about it instead of having to be serious all of the time.”
Schroer said the annual project is a good hands-on experience for students to learn how to do some basic construction.
“They are gaining some skills that people don’t use as much anymore,” he said. “With our phones and our internet, we’re always using that. Just to be able to use their skills without having to use the computer and just some basic hands-on things to do some basic construction, they may never do it again, but maybe they’ll build a doghouse or something or when they start building their own house.”