St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is set to kick off a major fundraiser in the Oklahoma City area, and when it does, hospital officials won't be at a loss for local help.
Officials from the Memphis, Tenn.-based hospital plan to begin construction on the latest St. Jude Dream Home later this month. The home is being built as a part of a fundraising campaign for the hospital's research and treatment programs.
Even before the work begins, volunteers from Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City are helping ensure that the home is as green as possible.
St. Jude officials build homes across the country to raffle off as a part of the hospital's Dream Home campaign. The hospital sells raffle tickets for $100 each, St. Jude spokeswoman Emily Blanding said. Tickets will go on sale later this year, when the project is officially under way.
This is the campaign's seventh year in Oklahoma City, Blanding said. Details about the next home won't be released until later this month, she said.
Last year, the campaign sold 5,300 tickets for the Oklahoma City home. This year, Blanding said, they hope to sell as many as 7,500 tickets. St. Jude officials expect to have the home complete in July.
OSU-OKC officials became involved with the project through Randy Reitz, a superintendent at TimberCraft Homes, the builder for the project. Reitz also is a construction student at OSU-OKC, and will graduate next month.
Besides taking courses from them, Reitz said, he's worked with instructors in the department on construction projects, including homes for Habitat for Humanity. Instructors in the department tend to be accessible, he said, so approaching them about helping with the St. Jude project seemed like a natural step.
Reitz said he hopes to use the project as a way to increase awareness of green building methods. While green building has grown in other areas, he said, it hasn't seen the same level of popularity in Oklahoma. By incorporating energy-efficient technology into the home, he hopes to make Oklahomans more inclined to consider green building methods when building a home.