Build Pagosa’s auction returning with chicken coops

Photo courtesy Kim Elzinga
Build Pagosa will hold its annual charity auction, dinner and live music Friday, May 21, at the Ross Aragon Community Center. This year’s auction will feature chicken coops, feed scoops, boot jacks/scrapers and handmade cornhole game sets — all constructed by students in Pagosa Springs High School’s Building Trades program.

By Kim Elzinga
Build Pagosa

Build Pagosa is back this year with its annual charity auction, dinner and live music Friday, May 21, at the Ross Aragon Community Center.

Although COVID restrictions prevented the nonprofit from holding its auction last year, the festivities have returned with a number of brand new items — 12 chicken coops, several feed scoops, boot jacks/scrapers and three handmade cornhole game sets — all constructed by students in Pagosa Springs High School’s (PSHS) Building Trades program. 

Also new is a corporate sponsorship option — five tables seating six are available for purchase at $1,000 per table.

Doors open at 4:30 p.m. for the silent auction with a barbecue dinner served at 6 p.m. Live music this year features musicians from the school’s Americana student group. 

“We decided to switch it up this year and offer chicken coops instead of dog houses. But you don’t really need to own chickens to bid on a chicken coop,” said Build Pagosa board member and PSHS vocational trades program instructor Tor Hessman, a veteran builder himself with more than 30 years experience in the trade. “Last auction we had several bidders re-donate their purchased dog house to be auctioned again. It all goes to a great cause.”

The construction of the chicken coops is very similar to that of a house, so students have received excellent hands-on training on home-building techniques. Each coop can house eight chickens and is constructed to be easy to clean and movable. They feature a ramp that can be lowered up and down and a door that can be locked. 

Once again this year, attendees will be able to bid on 5-gallon mystery buckets and other items from the last auction — a dog house and 20 bird houses. The buckets are filled with goodies and gift certificates.

“As a board, we struggled with the decision whether or not to sponsor the auction this year due to COVID infection concerns. Yet, Build Pagosa depends quite a bit on the generous contributions from auction attendees. Without the community’s support, we are just not able to provide essentials to our young people who certainly value the skills and experience they gain by being part of the program,” commented Build Pagosa board president Larry Ash. “We know how much this event means to our kids and our community, so we’re being as safe as possible, observing masking requirements and social distancing. But, I think everyone is ready to come out and have fun. It’s going to be a much-needed good time for all.”

Advance tickets are available online at under the events tab, $25 per adult ($30 at the door). Tickets can also be purchased through Build Pagosa’s Facebook page. Due to COVID restrictions, attendance in the Community Center is capped at 150. Getting your tickets early is highly encouraged. (Check for contingency plans if necessary.) Adult admission includes dinner, two free drink tickets (beer/wine) and an auction card. All proceeds will return to PSHS’s building trades and culinary arts programs to help provide additional classes, materials, supplies and more.

The dinner menu, created by Archuleta School District Food Service Director Todd Stevens, includes smoked barbecue brisket, smoked sausage, spicy deviled eggs, hummus and pita, cilantro slaw and chipotle pineapple black beans. Complimentary beverages include water, tea and lemonade. 

“I love this class because I really enjoy building,” said 17-year-old PSHS junior Lucas Huddleston, who has been fine-tuning his construction skills for the past six years. “The building trades may not be the career for you, but later on, you’ll know the skills. That’s important no matter what career you choose.”

Build Pagosa is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing volunteer opportunities for those in the building trades industry, local businesses and Pagosa Springs residents who want to support the educational, vocational, communication, economic and stabilization goals within the community. For more information about the group or ways you can be involved, head to