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For the fifth year in a row, students in the Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management built and donated a structure to a local nonprofit organization. This year’s recipient of a life-size playhouse is the Savio House.

To paraphrase that iconic line from the movie “Field of Dreams,” “If you build it, they will play.”

The Daniels College of Business created its own field of dreams on April 27, when it turned Carnegie Green on the DU campus into a construction site for the annual Playhouse Project, now in its fifth year. Graduate and undergraduate students in the Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management spent the day building a life-size—specifically, kid-size—playhouse, which they then donated to the Savio House, a Colorado non-profit. The organization, which has offices in Denver, Cañon City, Colorado Springs and Longmont, serves families throughout the Front Range by promoting child safety and effective parenting, and offering child protection, evidence-based programs and residential/foster care.

“They have a great playground in Denver but they don’t have a playhouse on it,” said Construction Management Professor Eric Holt, who oversaw the day’s construction. “That makes all this even more worthwhile. And it gives our students hands-on training that they can’t get in the classroom or in our construction lab.”

In addition to mastering the use of various power tools, students got resume-boosting experience working with a crane—including safety, rigging, lifting and signaling—courtesy of Pro Lift Crane Service, which has been involved in the Playhouse Project for the past three years.

Lucy Kurek, who is earning her master’s in real estate and the built environment, was appreciative of the construction-specific skills she gained by participating in the project. “I think I’ll be taken more seriously as a woman in the construction field if I decide to go the project management route because of experiences like this one, which give you the knowledge and vocabulary associated with a construction site,” she said. “And I love the community service aspect of this. That’s really important to me.”

The Playhouse Project was really important to Savio House representatives as well, including Associate Executive Director Julia Roguski, who visited campus for the dedication of the playhouse at the end of the day. “Our mission is to keep families together and to strengthen them. This playhouse will be an excellent addition to the resources we already have, and enable parents to strengthen their connections with their kids, build memories and learn the skills necessary to be strong, healthy, happy families.”