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Future CTE Addition Provides Real-World Learning Experience

Feb 22, 2019

Samantha Riddell Works on Computer Model

Architectural design students from the Frisco ISD Career and Technical Education Center got the rare opportunity to envision the future of their school.

The campus, which serves students from all 10 high schools across the District, needs more space to meet current and future student demand. The bond program approved by voters in November 2018 includes funding for an addition to the campus to allow it to serve approximately 1,000 additional students per day in new and expanded programs.

As a class project, architectural design students were tasked with researching facility needs and designing what a new space could look like using both 3D models and computer software used by professionals in the industry.

“It was cool because it is an actual project,” said Brian Ballard, a senior at Frisco High School.

Students worked in teams to interview teachers and administrators regarding space and program needs and translated that feedback into their designs, all while receiving critiques from professional architects.

It is a great example of what is known as project-based learning, an approach in which students actively explore real-world problems and challenges and acquire a deeper knowledge.

“This experience took their learning to a whole new level,” said architecture instructor Clint Floyd. “They had to think about building code and safety and personalize their architecture. They didn’t just get to build what they thought was right, they had to customize it to a client.”

3D Model Shows Student-Designed Addition to Current CTE Building

The students also had to work collaboratively to set goals, delegate responsibilities and manage deadlines, while leveraging each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The school building itself provided ideas and inspiration.

“We did a lot of walkthroughs of the building,” said Independence High School senior Samantha Riddell. “We were able to see how this corridor looks or how that flows.’”

Representatives from an architecture firm provided feedback on the feasibility of their designs and material choices, while also offering tips on professional etiquette.

“They were telling them, ‘Here’s how you really present a project’ and ‘Here’s how you really interact with clients,’ so it was good for them to hear that,” Floyd said.

The student’s ideas will be shared with the professional firm that is ultimately selected to design the addition. The District expects the additional space to be ready for students by 2022 or 2023.

Meanwhile, current students have learned a valuable lesson with real-world implications for their future.

“When you’re designing a building, it is a lot of work,” Ballard said. “It’s more than people think it is. We had to figure out how the spaces would work and how the design would fit with the existing CTE.”

Watch coverage of the project from local news station NBC 5.

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