Large donation aids Habitat for Humanity efforts

Story by Kyle Davis

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An idea a year in the making now has a home. Students first thought about building a Habitat for Humanity house in Baldwin City last year and now the first step is complete.<br/>The groundbreaking of the Habitat for Humanity lot was held during a ceremony Sunday afternoon at Eleventh and Fremont streets.The groundbreaking of the Habitat for Humanity lot was held during a ceremony Sunday afternoon at Eleventh and Fremont streets.
The groundbreaking of the Habitat for Humanity lot was held during a ceremony Sunday afternoon at Eleventh and Fremont streets.

“It is still in the early stages for getting everything off the ground,” Ruth Sarna, Baker and Baldwin City build coordinator, said.

LaMonte Lauridsen, a former Baker professor of physics and computer science, and his wife Bootsie, donated $30,000 to buy the land lot for the house. Roughly $40,000 has already been raised, including the $30,000 donation, but approximately $50,000 still needs to be raised to complete the project.

Bootsie Lauridsen, University President Pat Long, City Administrator Jeff Dingman, Jeremy Hahn, executive director of Lawrence Habitat for Humanity, Chad O’Bryhim, president of Baker student senate, and Sarna all participated in the turning of the ground ceremony at the lot dedication.

The Habitat for Humanity organization will select the family to live in the house and are hoping to have a family picked out by October. Also, the pouring of the foundation is looking to happen in October.

Baker students are encouraged to help out however they can with the project, both with the construction and raising money.

Sarna said the students will be really instrumental with the construction work and the Habitat team will need their support and involvement.

Hahn said this shouldn’t be a problem, as the trend for Habitat projects lately has been the younger generations starting to give back and getting involved with philanthropy.

Community interest in Baldwin City and Baker University is also growing in preparation of the Habitat house, Hahn said.

“Really it’s a community pulling together to help people in need,” he said. He added there has been a lot of interest up to this point.

“It shows investment in the community,” junior Eric Riggs said. “It can show Baldwin City that there are a lot of committed students.”

Riggs participated in the Habitat for Humanity interterm last year and plans on contributing to this project.

There is also a Baldwin/Baker Habitat Team that is in charge of getting the community involved in the project. Habitat team members include Sarna, her husband Bob; Jodie Randels, Baker secretary, and her husband, Jay; Doug Barth, director of alumni and corporate relations; Connie Neuenswander; Edrie Swanson, executive assistant to the president, and her husband, Bob.

This will be the second Habitat for Humanity house to be built in Baldwin City.