Holiday house a place for all seasons


DOVER — Mayor Robin Christiansen said he’s a big kid at heart, as he’s extremely excited about the city’s new multi-purpose holiday house in downtown Dover.

The 144-square-foot building is currently under construction at the Loockerman Way Plaza and will be completed before its ribbon-cutting ceremony on Dec. 17 at 5 p.m.

“I’m really excited about it,” Mayor Christiansen said. “We’ve wanted this for a long time. The kids are going to give me a hand in cutting the ribbon and it’s just going to be great.”

The house would be similar to the one on Walnut Street in Milford and will have wheels to move it to different locations downtown.

It could bring shoppers, children and families downtown for the holidays and be used year-round for the farmers market and other special events, said Mayor Christiansen.

Through fundraisers and donations the city was able to raise $3,500.

“We always thought it would be nice to have a house like this,” said William Neaton, executive director of the Downtown Dover Partnership.

“It’s a multi-use house. It will be used for a number of different things. For example we’ll be able to utilize it for special events. We can use it as an Easter bunny house and many other things.”

“It’s designed to have a trailer underneath of it. So we can move it as we like,” Mr. Neaton added.

A volunteer committee was created to help push the project, as the city wanted the community to be involved in the process as much as possible.

Engineer students from Delaware Technical Community College’s Terry Campus in Dover helped the design the multi-purpose house.

“The process took a year,” said Dr. R.J. Chandler Sr., lead architectural engineering technology instructor at the college.

“It’s a win for everyone. “We’re very excited about this project. This is a brand new project where the city of Dover and the Downtown Dover Partnership were able to reach out to our students at Delaware Tech.

“They asked us to come up with a design for Santa and after many presentations our students made we were able to come up with a design that the city of Dover was happy with,” Dr. Chandler added.

Dr. Chandler said from there the Becker Morgan Group helped mentor the students through the process. After that inmates at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Facility in Smyrna were able to build the house based off the drawings that were provided by the students.

“The inmates built the house and put it together in sections,” Dr. Chandler said. Once that happened it was sent over here in pieces.

“It was like Legos the way we were able to put it together,” Dr. Chandler said. “We got all four walls up, the roof and the windows, now it’s just a matter of time of just adding the finishing touches.”

Dr. Chandler, along with inmates from the correctional facility and members of the community has helped with the construction of the multi-purpose house.

“We’re ahead of schedule,” Dr. Chandler said. “I’m very pleased. The house was scheduled to be delivered on the 16th, but we got it a week ahead of schedule.

“We just have to add in the electrical work and decorate the house, but once that is taken care of we will be ready for our ribbon cutting ceremony on the 17th.”

Dr. Chandler said the house couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

“It’s great to give back to the community,” Dr. Chandler said. “It’s going to be great to see the faces of children when this is lit up during the ribbon-cutting ceremony and they meet Santa. I know they’re going to be amazed.”

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