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After successful Santa House, MCHS construction students look to do more building

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 about how the Santa House in downtown McHenry turned out, 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 has been open for several Saturdays leading up to Christmas.

“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 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 late August, the 13 students in the construction class worked on planning, designing then 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. 17-18 holiday festivities in downtown McHenry but the students stepped up to the job. A group of students came on their day off of school Nov. 2 to put in a good day’s 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 school about having his students build dugouts for the baseball team. And he’s considering a plan to someday 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.