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Students plan school of future

Four students from Eastview Middle School have come up with an architectural design for a school that connects education to Red Deer’s downtown community.

They call it Mamawayawin School, which translates to ‘living in a community’ in Cree.

Grade 7 and 8 students Cole Webber, Connor McCallister, Alison Harman and Aidan Schafer are competing in the School of the Future contest put on by the Council of Education Facility Planners International.

The Red Deer team won the right to represent Alberta and is now competing against two teams, one from Alaska and a team from Washington State, for the title of Pacific Northwest regional finalist.

Students will find out on Monday if they are one of eight international teams heading to the finals in April in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Mamawayawin School was designed to attach to the existing Recreation Centre. Students came up with an innovative plan to expand the aquatics centre and add a museum and art gallery to their proposed Kindergarten to Grade 8 school. Grade 9 to 12 students would be taught in a nearby science centre.

The concept grew from a desire to make students more successful based on the Finnish education system that emphasizes individualized education suited to students’ needs.

“In our design we kind of wanted to make learning fun and really want the students to be happy to go to school,” McCallister said on Thursday.

Opportunities to learn from businesses and organizations in the downtown community would further enhance students’ education.

“We really wanted to make it interactive. Everybody in the community plays a part in their education,” McCallister said.

The team worked to complement city plans for future development in the downtown.

Webber said the facilities were designed to be shared with the community. Constructing multi-use facilities means fewer facilities are needed.

Sustainability is a big part of schools of the future and Mamawayawin School would use geothermal heating, solar energy, and harness waste energy from rinks to cool buildings.

A green roof edged with railing on the main school facility would double as a playground.

“This building is very big and we thought it would take away the aspect of the park so we designed this part here to almost act as a path so you can walk right up and over it,” said Harman while pointing to the curved roof that touches ground in the team’s table-top model.

“We designed it like that so the students can still feel a part of downtown and the site without being at risk of danger.”

Craig Webber, principal with Group2 Architecture Engineering Ltd., was a professional mentor for the Eastview team. Eastview teacher Kelly Aleman worked with the students.



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