NAR Competition Gives Students a Say in Their School's Design

For more information, contact:
Sara Weis 202/383-1013 sweis@realtors.org

WASHINGTON, May 04, 2007

The National Association of Realtors®, in partnership with the Council of Educational Facility Planners International Foundation and Charitable Trust, today announced the winners of its School of the Future student design competition. The annual national contest challenges middle school students to redesign their schools to enhance learning, save energy, preserve resources and connect with the surrounding community.

The School of the Future design competition is a highlight of School Building Week, April 30-May 4, 2007. School Building Week encourages school districts across the country to generate public awareness about the importance of well-planned, high-performing, healthy and sustainable schools that foster student achievement and community vitality. The winning students and their projects were recognized at an awards ceremony at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

"Healthy schools are important in fostering student achievement and improving a community's vitality," said NAR President Pat V. Combs, of Grand Rapids, Mich., and vice president of Coldwell Banker-AJS-Schmidt. "Through our smart growth initiatives, such as the School of the Future design competition, Realtors® build and strengthen communities by actively engaging in local public school issues and helping to increase awareness about the need for safe, healthy, energy-efficient and environmentally responsive schools."

Realtor® JoAnne Poole, Poole Realty, Glen Burnie, Md., and 2007 NAR State and Political Issues Group Liaison, presented the winning teams with plaques and cash prizes.

Students from Old Lyme Middle School in Old Lyme, Conn., took first place and were presented with a check for $2,000 for their project, which incorporated solar energy panels, domes to increase the amount of natural light, a central courtyard with flowers and greenery and a location near a river to produce electricity using hydroelectric power.

Canyon Breeze Elementary School in Avondale, Ariz., was awarded second place and received $1,500. The students' design included a cluster of adobe buildings housing the different grades, solar energy panels, a central quad for gathering, and virtual reality capabilities for students to explore history first-hand.

Third place went to students from Norwalk Middle School, Norwalk, Iowa. The students received $1,000 for their school design, which included landscaping with plants appropriate to the climate of the region, a central atrium with interior glass walls and abundant natural light and a greenhouse where students can grow plants and vegetables that could be used in the school's cafeteria.

Honorable mentions and $500 went to Charles Hart Middle School, Washington, D.C., and Olympic View Middle School, Mukilteo, Wash. The students from Charles Hart designed a three-story building with a central atrium and large windows for natural light, a green roof and recycled materials from the old school building. The Olympic View students redesigned their school's video recording studio and production facility, which is currently cluttered and disorganized. The students' plan would increase storage, update video/production equipment with energy saving systems and lighting and install green screens.

The first round of the design competition kicked off in September 2006, when middle school students from around the country invited community members into their classrooms to provide information on how schools in the community can increase awareness about and build support for environmentally friendly design. Five regional finalists were selected, and the teams, consisting of three or four students and their teachers, arrived in Washington D.C., on May 1 for the final round of judging and award presentation.

While in the District of Columbia this week, the design students toured the U.S. Capitol building and met with U. S. Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa), and Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), at a reception in the students' honor.

The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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