By Emily Welch
Cougar House VI, a house built and sold in order to raise funds for BYU athletics, was opened Thursday May 4, 2006 in Eagle Mountain.
Cougar Houses are a different kind of fundraiser; instead of bake sales or raffles, BYU has opted to sell houses, and the sale of Cougar House VI is projected to raise $260,221. Including the money from the sale of Cougar House VI, the total Cougar House project will have raised approximately $878,000 for BYU Athletics.
The idea for Cougar Houses was influenced by the Lobos House project in New Mexico. BYU and the Utah Valley Home Builders Association got together and created the Cougar House project in order to benefit student athletes.
Wayne Ross, the national president of the Cougar Club and member of the UVHBA, said the homebuilders are glad to help BYU”s athletic department.
“The Home Builders Association is very proud to be part of this continued effort to help BYU provide for their scholar athletes,” he said.
Scholarships generated by the Cougar House project have traditionally been used to aid such athletes as former football fullback Fahu Tahi, cross country runner Cassie Anderson and soccer goalie Erica Woodbury. But last year, part of the money generated by Cougar House V went toward the football team”s new white helmets.
Cougar Houses are built largely from donations. Volunteers seek out friends and acquaintances affiliated with building companies and entreat partial donations of building supplies such as lumber and concrete. Builders from the UVBHA donate their time, materials and skills in order to actually build the house. Yet, it”s the land that”s hard to acquire.
Dave Lewis, member of the UVBHA and the Cougar House subcommittee, said getting the lot is the main part of the Cougar House project.
“The key to the whole program is the developer donating the lot,” he said.
Scott Kirkland, Jimmy Zufelt and Gary Monteer donated the property that Cougar House VI is built on. Scott Kirkland also aided in the purchase of the Cougar House II lot and is a member of the UVHBA.
“Giving is more important than what I receive out of it, ” he said, “I feel good getting to give back to BYU.”
Cougar House VI is a 2,500 square-foot home with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a designated “Cougar Room.” It will be featured in this year”s Parade of Homes and will be the first house shown in the parade.
Michael Middleton, a member of the Cougar Club and active leader in the Cougar House project, acknowledges the dedication and effort of the UVHBA.
“These people [homebuilders] are doing other things as well as working on the Cougar House project,” he said. “They have their own houses in the Parade of Homes to be working on.”
The first Cougar House was built in 2001 in Springville. Since then, a new Cougar House has been built annually. BYU and the UVHBA are currently looking for someone to donate the lot to build Cougar House VII.