KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A group of middle and high school students is combining computer design skills, community concerns and environmental science to create their vision of a redesigned 18th and Vine area.
The students belong to a nonprofit called aSTEAM Village. The organization teaches youth about science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
The students creating designs are in a group called RedTails. Their mission is to take the concerns of people who live and work in the historic Kansas City area and create solutions in their designs to what's missing in the neighborhood.
One of the designs from student Le'Yona Colbert focused on the need for an urgent care facility in the area.
"Down there at 18th and Vine, they don't have an urgent care facility like that. They only have the Truman Hospital, but that's way far. That's not close to 18th and Vine," Colbert explained.
Fellow student Xavier Hasty also created several designs. One demonstration focuses on recreation and exercise.
The student said he has learned a lot from the project.
"How to use a sketch-up, how to use coding, how to think open-mindedly and how to collaborate as a team," Hasty said.
Both Hasty and Colbert aspire to become engineers.
The students are receiving guidance from aSTEAM Village founder William Wells and design professional Michael Rendler.
Rendler is the director of e7 Architecture Studio in Los Angeles. He said the students in the program are learning the process of vetting good ideas.
"This is real work going on, in real-time right now where they're being asked to do something that takes real professional skill and they're delivering that professional skill," he said.
Rendler added that creations from the students involve more than just design.
"Now you have partnerships with education, you have partnerships with your community, you have environmental science taking place and this thinking is the future because every single city has these kinds of environments that are in this transformational space and inclusion is the core to this," Rendler explained.
The students plan to introduce their designs to the community in a presentation on May 4.