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Third-grader's playhouse design wins contest

March 26, 2000|By ANDREA ROWLAND

Allaire Bartel's got a 10-foot-tall imagination.

The Salem Avenue Elementary School third-grader's creative playhouse design won first place in a contest sponsored by Home Builders Association of Washington County (HBA).

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"I really wanted to enter it because I like doing art and stuff and I thought it would be a good idea," said Allaire, 8, of Hagerstown.

"I've always liked things like hammocks and balconies and stuff."

Allaire's winning sketch and the 13 other entries from third- and fourth-graders at Salem Avenue were displayed at the HBA booth Saturday and Sunday during Home Show 2000 at Hagerstown Community College.

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A design by Kathleen Prather placed second while one by Ashley Snyder placed third.

HBA sponsored the contest - which will be an annual event - as a fund-raiser for its scholarship fund and building project at Children's Village fire safety training center in Hagerstown, said HBA Executive Vice President Debbie Turbin.

Hub City Builders owner James Fahey built Allaire's playhouse at Lowe's of Hagerstown, which donated the $1,200 worth of doors, windows and other materials, said Store Manager Bill Cosner, who serves as HBA vice president.

"We want to be involved with the community and get young people involved in something creative," Cosner said.

Some designs featured buildings shaped like castles and spaceships. Some young would-be architects specified wooden plank floors and two-piece front doors.

A panel of builders and an architect chose the winning plan based upon design concept and building feasibility, Turbin said.

"The main questions were, 'Can we build it?' and 'Will someone want it in their backyard?'" said Turbin, who added that Salem Avenue was chosen to kick off the contest because of the school's Blue Ribbon status and proximity to HBA's West Washington Street office.

Allaire said her parents, John and Carolee Bartel, had faith in her imagination and artistic skills.

"They knew instantly, even before I started designing it, that I was going to win."

Allaire's detailed drawing in crayon and pencil on graph paper outlines plans for a two-room dream playhouse.

"She did that on her own. I was impressed," Carolee Bartel said. "She's sharp."

Allaire's design features a secret door, shutters, bunk hammocks "for a little peace and quiet," a kitchen area, "balkeny," skylight and "a box to keep your secret things in."

"My house has a skylight and I really like it in the summer and stuff," said Allaire, who credited her little sister, Heather, 5, with the kitchen idea.

Allaire won a $100 Toys 'R Us gift certificate, with which she bought a new bike, roller blades and some toy dinosaurs for Heather, she said.

Fahey built the playhouse, which is the size of a 10-foot-tall outdoor storage shed, as close to Allaire's specifications as possible, Cosner said.

Allaire said she was happy with the end product, for which raffle tickets were sold for $1 each.

"Please draw mine. Please draw mine," chanted Williamsport Elementary fourth-grader Joanne Townsley, 10, as Allaire dipped her hand into the ticket box on Sunday.

She drew Reynolds Christman's winning ticket.

He'll keep the dream playhouse at his Chambersburg, Pa., home for his seven grandchildren to use, said Christman's daughter, Joy Bailey.

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