Students build playhouse to benefit CASA

Design and Build class collaborates with CASA organization


Charlie Lauts

The front side of the Harry potter castle.

By Izzy Hedges, Assistant Online Editor

The Design and Build class, taught by Charlie Lauts, is collaborating with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for the third year in a row.

At the College and Career Center, Design and Build students are building a Harry Potter-themed playhouse to auction off for the CASA organization.

“The past two years, what I see it does to the kids in class, they care so much about this project,” Lauts said. “It is seriously something they have invested so much time and energy in that it becomes part of them.”

Charlotte Lauts
The fireplace, inside the castle.

The CASA organization advocates for children who have been abused or neglected by speaking up for their cases in court hearings.

“It’s one of the biggest fundraisers that they have. It’s a non-profit and a big deal,” senior Noah Mercer said. “Every year, we get more and more money from it, because it gets more known by the local community. So hopefully, it spreads around this year.”

In 2016, the organization raised $4,000 from the Kansas farmhouse theme. This year, it is expected to raise about$5,000 dollars or more.

“We’ve been progressively increasing how much money we actually raise on this project the past few years, so we’re really excited for that because they’re a great foundation,” senior Dusty Morris said. “They help out children in need that can’t speak for themselves in courts, so it’s really important.”

USD 497 began collaborating with CASA in 2015. In 2015, the theme for the playhouse was the Hobbit. In 2016, the theme was a Kansas farm house.

“Already we’re seeing a lot more complexity in the fact that we’re not just building a playhouse for the children this year, we’re actually including games and props that are going to go with it,” Morris said.

Charlotte Lauts
The back side of the Harry Potter Castle, with a climbing wall.

The Harry Potter castle will include wands, a chessboard, a sorting hat, as well as a choice of house from Harry Potter. This year, the playhouse is a lot more detailed oriented and complex.

The students are permitted the entire spring semester to complete the project. After the playhouse is finished. The playhouse is given to CASA of Douglas County, and then auctioned off through a Raffle in varying locations in Lawrence.

“I mean, charity work is charity work. It’s one of those things you get self fulfillment from. It just feels good to be helping someone else,” Morris said. “They are really nice people and it’s really great to work with them.”