With the news buzzing about the proposed Miami Beckham United Soccer Stadium, the leaders at the ACE (Architecture Construction and Engineering) Mentor Program in Broward County thought this would be the perfect learning opportunity for their students. A challenge was issued to the teams in the program to create a design for the much-talked about sports venue. Current Builders (www.CurrentBuilders.com), based in Pompano Beach, mentors the winning team at J.P. Taravella High School in Coral Springs. The team captain, Brandon Powell, won a $2,000 scholarship at the recent ACE Award’s presentation and wowed the audience with his innovative use of a computer simulated wind tunnel to optimize the structure of the proposed soccer stadium.
For Powell, who was just graduated from J.P. Taravella, this project was both exciting and motivating. “We took this task very seriously,” he said. “I think what set us apart was our reveal video, where we showcased a photo realistic moving rendering of our design. We also garnered credit for our computer simulated wind tunnel, where we studied where and how wind travels over the orientation of the building. This will help tremendously in optimizing the building’s structure for hurricanes, but we also incorporated wind vents to internally cool the building which will save money through reduced air conditioning bills.
“Being mentored by Schroeder has been a life-changing experience for Powell who remarked, “He helped me immensely during these past three years. I developed a true understanding of how the industry works, how Building Information Modeling is used, and how to budget and schedule wisely. Having Andrew guide me during these hands-on building experiences has truly given me a wonderful advantage as I prepare for college.”
While Powell knows this was just a test of the students’ creativity, he does hope that someone from Beckham’s camp will look at his team’s design. “That would be really cool,” he said. “I think we brought some interesting elements to the stadium, and I hope they realize what an inspiration it was to work on something like this, even if it was just in the classroom.”
Current Builders’ sponsors two high school teams and CEO Chip Reid encourages his employees to participate in the ACE Mentor Program to fuel excitement about the industry.
“Generating enthusiasm in the next generation about the construction industry is something that is very important for us,” he said. “The ACE Mentor program allows us to work with local kids and help them really understand what today’s industry is all about. We need tech savvy young people to lead us into the future and this program is a critical part of making that happen.”
How ACE Works:
ACE is made up of affiliates that serve youth within a certain city or region. Each affiliate has a board of directors, a local coordinator, and a number of teams. Teams are composed of 15-25 students and their industry mentors.
Each team is set up to emulate an actual design team, with students guided through a mock design project by their architect, engineer, and construction management mentors. Several companies will be assigned to each team, each providing one or two mentors.
Mentors guide the students as they work towards a final project, introducing them to the careers, industry vocabulary, and various roles companies play in the construction industry. ACE runs for the duration of the school year. The teams meet for approximately 15 sessions, for about two hours after school.
In addition to these team sessions, there are also all-team activities such as “College Night” and field trips to construction sites. Each team meets on a specific day of the week, with varying meeting locations where possible. The meetings are held either in schools or at the offices of the firms to give the students as authentic an experience as possible.
Students interested in joining ACE Mentoring should contact John Tunon, or Laura Castro, in room 901.