By: Sharon Aron Baron
A JP Taravella student won a $2,000 ACE Mentor Award scholarship where students were asked to create a design for the proposed Miami Beckham United Soccer Stadium.
Brandon Powell of Coral Springs, wowed the audience with his innovative use of a computer simulated wind tunnel to optimize the structure of the proposed soccer stadium at the recent ACE (Architecture Construction and Engineering) Mentor Program in Broward County. In the contest, various teams in the program were issued a challenge to create a design for the much-talked about sports venue.
For Powell, who just graduated from J.P. Taravella and will soon be heading to Florida International University, the 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.”
Powell’s team was mentored Current Builders, based in Pompano Beach, and said that being mentored by Andrew Schroeder, a specialist in Building Information Modeling and Virtual Design Construction has been a life-changing experience.
Powell said that his mentor helped him immensely during the past three years and he developed a true understanding of how the industry works, how Building Information Modeling was 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,” said Powell.
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. The 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.
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.”
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,” said Powell. “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.”