Everyone deserves a chance.
Only one person’s going to win.
As it turned out, his lucky number was 5062.
A crowd of about 2,500 people gathered at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Cheamkwet Park on the North Idaho College campus for the 26th annual “Really Big Raffle” drawing.
Mark Collins scored the grand prize: A Post Falls house valued at $310,000. Collins split the cost of the ticket with his two adult sons, Jake and Mick. Though Jake was not present, Mick and Mark said they’d had a feeling about the day.
“It’s unbelievable,” Mark said. “But I totally knew it,” Mick continued.
Each year North Idaho College students studying carpentry and construction technology put their new skills to use building the grand-prize home. Carpentry students begin building the house in September and finish the following May, by the end of the students’ second semester.
The North Idaho College Foundation has been partnering with NIC for 42 years. This year it will award more than $1 million in scholarships, a benchmark Executive Director Rayelle Anderson said the foundation had long been working toward.
The raffle began in 1994 as a way to provide carpentry students with hands-on experience.
“So the college reached out to the foundation and said ‘Could we work together and as a foundation could you help us cash flow this house and let the student learn from the ground up how to build a house and then we can teach the next generation of builders for our community,” Anderson told the crowd.
North Idaho College sold 5,500 tickets at $100 each. Proceeds from the raffle supports the NIC Foundation Scholarships and fund the hands-on learning lab for the next year, allowing another class of carpentry students to gain experience from the foundation to the roofline. The final project this year was a three-bedroom, two-bath house with an upstairs bonus room and a two-car garage. The house, in the Montrose neighborhood on West Midway Drive, encompasses 2,342 square feet. Similar houses nearby have a median list price of $312,325, Coldwell Banker Schneidmiller Realty data showed.
The good luck comes with a catch: Prizewinners have to pay income tax on the fair market value of their prizes. “They are going to have to pay federal and state income tax, whether it’s the $1,000 or $350,000 house,” Anderson said.
At the drawing, Mark called his wife, who thought he was kidding when he said they’d won. Mick texted his mom a photo of the winning envelope to convince her.
WINNERS IN THE 2019 NIC REALLY BIG RAFFLE
$310,000 Home: Mark Collins
$20,000 Prize: Lee Bernardi
$10,000 Prize: George Hughes
$3,500 Prize: Kimberly Smith
$2,000 Prize: Monica Graybeal
Early Bird $2,000 Gift card: Dwight Green and Samuel Koester