News and Views / Stewart Engineer Mentors Students to Victory

June 1st / 2016

Stewart Engineer Mentors Students to Victory

Stewart congratulates the Uptown Team of high school students who recently won the ACE Mentor Program of America’s first place trophy in the design competition!

These hard-working high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors spent nine months working on a real world design challenge: to design an educational village bordering Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte that is pedestrian-friendly, with a signature neighborhood streetscape, that provides an open and enjoyable environment for students to live and learn in. Student teams were encouraged to follow the 2020 Center City Vision Plan so this design competition was about as true to life as you can get. Can you imagine reading a vision plan as a high-schooler? Just THINK of the edge these students are getting by learning about this stuff now!

Their solution came in the form of what they deemed “The Triangle Student Neighborhood” so named for the triangle of streets defining the project area.

Led by a team of three mentors from design professions, including Stewart’s own civil engineer Jamey Baysinger, the team presented their analysis and designs at the Charlotte Chapter’s Annual Banquet and beat out 4 other teams to take first place. And when you check out their work, you can see why! The team created sketches, models, a narrative and a 30-minute presentation.

After analyzing the existing conditions, the atmosphere and culture of the campus, view sheds to and from the city, and needs of the university population, the team was ready to tackle the design.

The Uptown Team’s award-winning design featured an L-shaped dormitory configured to solve the challenges of a steep site. Students designed the building, student bedrooms, and classrooms, and completed all stages of the design process from site analysis to 3D computer models of the building, rooms and site, complete with cost estimates and projected schedule. Again, high school students! What an amazing opportunity for them to experience all aspects of designing a project. Well, most aspects. They have plenty of time to learn about construction delays and underground surprises after graduation.

Another major feature of the team’s concept was the Semicircle, a social space adjacent to the dorm that contains a game room, projector room, cafeteria, meeting rooms and two classrooms. The Uptown Team envisioned this building with its semicircular glass atrium, as a place where students could “grow in companionship.”

The mission of the ACE Mentor Program is to mentor high school students and inspire them to pursue design and construction careers. With an impressive win like this under their belts, these students from the Uptown Team are well on their way!

For more information about the ACE program, click here.


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