NAR Honors Students for Winning School-of-the-Future Designs

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

WASHINGTON, May 02, 2008

The National Association of Realtors® and the Council of Educational Facility Planners International Foundation today announced the winners of the School of the Future design competition.

The annual competition, open to middle school students, challenges teams to redesign their schools to enhance learning, conserve resources, be environmentally responsive and engage the surrounding community. The winning teams, consisting of three to four students and their teachers, were recognized at an awards ceremony at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

“Realtors® build communities and are strong supporters of programs like the School of the Future design competition, which promote quality education for our children,” said NAR President Dick Gaylord, a broker with RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists in Long Beach, Calif. “Healthy, safe, and high-performing, sustainable schools help foster student achievement and strong communities – and no one knows that better than these student teams, who’ve worked so hard to design and construct their ideal learning environment.”

The grand prize winner was Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School, Old Lyme, Conn. Second place went to Norwalk Middle School, Norwalk, Iowa. Third place winner was Imago Dei Middle School, Tucson, Ariz. Honorable mentions went to the Gereau Center, Rocky Mount, Va.; Olympic View Middle School, Mukilteo, Wash.; and Westland Middle School, Bethesda, Md. NAR 2008 Regional Vice President Elizabeth Blakeslee of Coldwell Banker Residential in Washington, D.C., presented the teams with plaques and cash prizes at the awards ceremony.

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School was presented with a check for $2,000 for its first-place project, which incorporated ergonomic classroom furniture; hydro, solar and wind power; energy efficient appliances; compact florescent light bulbs; transition windows to block harmful UV rays; and a hydro gutter system that provides electrical power as well as collects rain water for reuse.

Norwalk Middle School received $1,500 for its second-place design, which included a domed center building with four pods. The building would be powered by solar energy and constructed of recycled brick and glass. In the classrooms, the children would make use of recycled paper and work on desks and chairs made from recycled plastic.

Imago Dei Middle School was awarded $1,000 for its third-place project, which included a water harvesting and gray water system that would irrigate a small garden space for the community to plant and enjoy. The building design also incorporated rammed earth construction to help insulate and reduce heating costs, and a passive solar design, which uses the sun’s energy for heating and cooling.

The student team at Westland Middle School received $500 for their design project. The students’ building model centered on a “living classroom” constructed from recycled materials and filled with plants and trees. Other elements included a fish hatchery and energy efficient heating and cooling.

The students from Gereau Center were awarded $500 for their design of a 100,000 square foot learning center, making use of renewable energy such as wind turbines and photovoltaic solar panels, recycled materials, harvested rainwater for toilets and urinals and geothermal heating and cooling.

The design submitted by Olympic View Middle School proposed a cluster of buildings with an inner courtyard, earning the students $500. The design included hi-tech interactive whiteboards in the classrooms, a rain garden, and energy smart appliances, heating, cooling and venting systems.

The design competition is the highlight of School Building Week, April 28–May 2, 2008, which provides an opportunity to draw national attention to the importance of well designed, healthy, high quality, sustainable schools that enhance student achievement and community vitality.

The design competition kicks off each year in September. Each student team is required to submit a project model made from recycled materials, a short video or presentation, and a 750-word narrative description explaining the planning process and rationale behind their project.

Six regional finalists were selected in March 2008, and the students arrived in Washington, D.C., on April 28 for the final round of judging. While in D.C., the students toured the National Mall, were honored at a reception on Capitol Hill with their respective members of Congress and feted at an evening reception hosted by NAR.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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