Building From the Ground Up

LHS Carpentry team builds playhouses for community
LHS senior James Huff works on the roofing of one of the four playhouses carpentry students are building.
LHS senior James Huff works on the roofing of one of the four playhouses carpentry students are building.

Students in the Lancaster High School carpentry and masonry program are building playhouses to be sold to the community. A tradition that started 10 years ago is now the senior performance evaluation for carpentry. Students are applying their skills in woodworking and technical resourcing to construct the tiny houses that will include multiple details such as framing, windows, and much more.  These custom made houses are special because most playhouses for children are machine made and sold in stores. Custom built playhouses are harder to come across.

Andrew Phillips, Carpentry Masonry team instructor.

“We want to make them small enough that you can fit these in the back of a pickup truck because it is 4 foot by 7 foot. We’ve put them into pickup trucks before,” said Andy Phillips, an Industrial Technical instructor at LHS.

“We are selling these off, we have sold two of them so far. We’re asking $500 for them. We’ve done these every year just because they’re nice and small and semi-portable. It will make a nice little kid’s playhouse,” he said.

In order to sell these playhouses, Phillips said he simply advertised the playhouses through school email.

 “We sent out a picture of it and told them the cost. This year I just reached out to people in high school. We sold them pretty quick,” he said.

LHS senior Devon Totten.

LHS senior Devon Totten said this project has fostered a collaborative working environment for him and his classmates.

 “I think this is going to help with teamwork because commonly when you’re building stuff like that, sure you can get it done just yourself, but when a bunch of people are doing it, it gets done quicker. With some it will help with teamwork traits” Totten stated. 

For some construction students like Totten, carpentry is a familiar skill that he wants to build on.

“ For me, some of it came easier because I have parents that have done trades before so it clicked easier. Maybe for some people who haven’t been more hands on it will be more of a challenge. It helped me with the skills in this class, at first we started with woodworking and once we started getting really into the construction part of it it helped me further along how to frame in general, it helped me a lot and I think it helped everyone else in here. But I think after getting used to doing it, it will come naturally” Totten said.

LHS senior James Huff.

Collaboration among the students was essential to building a quality project for sale.

“The most difficult thing while building the playhouses are the people you work with, communication, like when they don’t talk things out with anyone” said LHS senior James Huff.

LHS senior Maddox Mitchell said good teamwork involved utilizing the teams’ individual skills and timing.

“We get to know how each other’s minds work, but if someones better at doing siding or something, I’d say go ahead and jump on it and get it right and when it comes time, you can have all your stuff ready to throw it on. It would be nice to see everyone’s talent” Mitchell stated. 

Although the team has had fun building the little custom playhouses, they also have expectations for what happens afterwards. They hope the buyers will appreciate the time and effort they put into building the playhouses.

LHS senior Maddox Mitchell.

 “What I hope to happen with them, is that whoever gets them will use them for a good cause, because we put a lot of hard work and a lot of days into it,” said Totten.

Huff said he’s excited for the families that buy the houses.

“I hope that the kids and people who receive it have fun with it and enjoy it, and make memories with it,” Huff said

Mitchell said that for him, the project was very worthwhile

“We don’t have a whole lot of chances to do these group activities. And for the community, it’s definitely going to help.  You don’t get a lot of handmade stuff anymore,” he said.

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