Loveland Lakefront Deconstruction Project Offers Benefits to All

Historic Foote home offers opportunity to Larimer County community corrections participants

By Tom Hacker Loveland Reporter-Herald Staff Writer

Start the list of winners involved in the deconstruction of a Loveland lakefront home with the names of the six people doing the heavy lifting — all women, all participants in the Larimer County community corrections program. Continue with the couple who will build their dream home on the lot where the home once owned by the venerable Foote family is being taken apart, nail by nail, board by board. Include the Berthoud woodworkers who will turn some of the materials from the home into custom furniture at their Cajun Moon Design workshop.

The deconstruction of the Foote home is the latest in a string of projects undertaken by the Fort Collins-based National Center for Craftsmanship (NCC), a group that is guided by the twin goals of construction-trades training and environmental stewardship. “This is a unique program,” said the group’s operations manager, Nick Benson. “There’s nothing quite like it anywhere else that I’m aware of.”  Benson spent Monday supervising the women who are learning building trades in a counter-intuitive way — by taking something apart to learn how it was put together. One was Selena Pieplow, a Yuma, Ariz., native who is serving a sentence that runs through 2013. “It’s great just knowing that I’ll have job opportunities at that time,” Pieplow said.

Benson said Pieplow and her co-workers would also emerge from their training with a ten-hour OSHA certification. NCC launched in Fort Collins in 2007 with the deconstruction of three 1970s homes, houses that otherwise would have been bulldozed and hauled to the landfill. Since then, the non-profit has deconstructed 30 buildings over the course of 20 projects, mostly in Northern Colorado but extending into Denver.

“What we bring to the table is an opportunity to leverage dormant capital,” said Neil Kaufman, the group’s founder, himself a third-generation craftsman. Kaufman said the owners of the home at 1725 Garfield Ave., Randy and Alicia Lofquist, could just as easily have scraped away the old home in less time, to make way for the new house they will build on the east shore of Lake Loveland. Instead, through a referral from Loveland architect Al Hauser, they turned to NCC. “Their primary motivation was environmental stewardship,” Kaufman said. “They felt compelled to find a way to recycle and reuse as much of that material as possible.”

The couple will also reap tax advantages by using a specialized assessed value of the home — separate from the underlying land value that, as most lakeshore residents know, is far greater. “There are a series of tax credits that make it a no-brainer,” Kaufman said. “Even though the house itself is not in the owners’ plan, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value.”

Marjorie Knievel knows the home’s value as well as anyone, having lived in it her first 19 years. The daughter of Margaret and Don Foote, now 85, visited the job site on Monday. “I thought it was going to be terribly sad,” she said. “But it wasn’t. All the memories I have are still there. It doesn’t really matter what happens to the house.”

Excerpted and edited from Loveland Reporter-Herald article, March 6th, 2012.

Tom Hacker can be reached at 669-5050, ext. 521, or thacker@reporter-herald.com.


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