Eight Vail Valley builders bring Playhouse Project to life to benefit charities

If you go ...

What: Vail Board of Realtors presents the Town of Avon’s Playhouse Project public debut.

When: 6 p.m. Thursday, June 14.

Where: Harry A. Nottingham Park, Avon.

Cost: Free.

More information: Visit

This story has been corrected regarding the name of Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley.

AVON — Combine eight of the Vail Valley’s premier builders with a great cause, and good things will happen. And, with a bit of luck, a lot of money will be raised for charity.

The Vail Board of Realtors presents the town of Avon’s Playhouse Project — a name almost as big as some of the structures — has brought together companies and individuals to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Vail Board of Realtors Foundation and Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley.

The builders were each given $1,000 to help pay for supplies and then told to let their imaginations run wild. But imagination and heart far outstripped the modest supply budgets.

Eagle-based Realtors Kim Bradley and Kelly Moser, of Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, sponsored the effort from High Country Builders, which put together a Dr. Seuss-themed playhouse with bright colors, whimsical architecture and a custom interior paint job from Jessica Gilbert.

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Bradley and Moser went to the building site last weekend and were stunned at what they saw.

“They’d literally been working around the clock,” Bradley said. Just as impressive was the contribution of vendors and subcontractors. Pella Windows donated glass to that project.

Boundless enthusiasm

Colorado Mountain News Media Events Manager Holli Snyder — who put this project together — said that’s been the case with all of the builders. In all, “50 or 60 companies” are involved, Snyder said.

And, she added, everyone is “super proud of their houses.”

The appeal of St. Jude drew both Snyder and Bradley to the project.

For Snyder, a longtime desire to help the hospital — which never charges families whose children are treated there — crystallized at a 2017 gala for the organization.

People there suggested a playhouse project as a fundraiser. Snyder took the idea to Avon officials, who loved it. So did the construction companies, who jumped at the chance to participate, even in their busiest time of year.

Bradley’s desire to help came from a 2016 visit to a St. Jude hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

Bradley and Moser reached out to High Country Builders, and the project started coming to life.

In Eagle-Vail, Shaeffer-Hyde Construction was putting the finishing touches on its playhouse on Wednesday, June 13. The company’s structure has a slide, a hammock and an artificial turf roof. The roof was going to be a putting green, but that idea was shelved.

Playhouse project manager Heather Duncan said the playhouse idea at first seemed “a little overwhelming,” especially considering the company’s current work schedule.

“But I started talking to my colleagues and everybody got really excited about it,” Duncan said. “We love what we’re doing, and the opportunity to involve ourselves even more in the community. … Our skill sets would benefit the point of the project — St. Jude.”

That enthusiasm extended to the company’s vendors and suppliers. Duncan said between 10 and 12 other companies — from small subcontractors to Home Depot — jumped in, either with materials or help with labor.

Duncan called Shaeffer-Hyde’s playhouse the “smallest, biggest project I’ve ever taken on.”

A lot to haul

All of the playhouses are big — between 2,000 and 5,000 pounds each, Snyder said. The Shaeffer-Hyde playhouse is among the biggest. In fact, it has to be transported in two pieces.

There are spots on the framework of the structure where a forklift from White Horse Moving Solutions can lift the pieces onto a flatbed truck. It will be re-assembled in Avon.

All of the playhouses will be on display at Nottingham Park for about five weeks. People can admire and, appropriately, kids can play on and in them.

Snyder said video surveillance of the park has been beefed up, and the Avon Police Department will increase patrols in the area.

After the exhibit, the playhouses will be auctioned off on line. Online bidders will have a buy-it-now option, and live bidders will be encouraged to write large checks for great playhouses — and great causes.

The goal is to raise $50,000. But, Snyder said, the amount she’s hoping for is much more. The hoped-for amount could do a lot of good, in the valley and around the world.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at and 970-748-2930.

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