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High school construction students build Santa House

Holiday structure will be open Saturday for visits

The Santa House, built by McHenry East High School students, is seen in downtown McHenry.
The Santa House, built by McHenry East High School students, is seen in downtown McHenry.

With a successful Santa House building project under their construction belts, McHenry High School’s construction education students are looking to do even more building.

McHenry East High School teacher Dan Rohman, who leads the construction class, said he is so pleased with how the Santa House in downtown McHenry turned out that he’s looking into other construction projects for students.

The 10-foot-by-10-foot Santa House was built this past fall and unveiled last month as part of holiday festivities in Veterans Memorial Park in downtown McHenry.

It will be open for Santa visits from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

“We plan to have it for many years to come,” said Kim Loewe, owner of Kiera Confections, who worked on the project with Rohman on behalf of the McHenry Area Downtown Business Association.

Rohman said McHenry High School District 156 officials introduced a new curriculum for the construction class this year. When the Santa House project came about over the summer, it was a great fit, he said.

Since August, the 13 students in the construction class worked on planning, designing and ultimately building the wood-frame house with a front porch. Students were involved from start to finish, he said.

Rohman said he knew it would be a challenge getting it done in time for the unveiling during the Nov. 17 and 18 holiday festivities in downtown McHenry, but the students stepped up to the job.

A group of students came on their day off school Nov. 2 to put in extra work, he said.

“That really kind of warmed my heart,” Rohman said. “They got more than just carpentry experience.”

Now, Rohman said, he’s been talking to baseball coaches at the school about having his students build dugouts for the baseball team. And he’s considering a plan to some day have students build sheds, at cost, for residents who want them.

As for the Santa House, it was decorated and moved with the help of the city’s Parks Department, Crystal Nicole Designs and Phoenix 24/7 Towing. Business leaders plan to keep it for future holiday events.

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