Five INVISION employees mentored high school students in the ACE (Architecture, Construction, Engineering) Mentor Program of America, Inc.. The ACE program introduces high school students to careers in architecture, construction, and engineering. Shannon McGee, Madison Nelson, David Reid, Miranda Spears, and Heidi Willis served as mentors for three Central Iowa Teams, including the Competition Team.
The Competition Team is one of three selected (out of 62 teams) to go to nationals for their response to the playground challenge. Their project included creating a playscape for all ages that revitalized a neglected part of an urban area or city into an interactive landscape that encourages public engagement and community involvement, along with keeping sustainable ideas in mind. The team’s design renovated the space previously occupied by Younkers at Merle Hay Mall in Des Moines into an indoor, year-round playscape for the community. Students selected the site due to its proximity to area schools, lack of community space in the area, and the ability for the idea to be replicated across other “big-box” stores that frequently remain vacant after corporations close. The design incorporated sports courts, mesh walkways, a rock wall, and accessory elements such as a café to transform the abandoned space. Renovations to the site also included sculptures and pathways while simultaneously providing a pervious area for much needed drainage in an area of the city with lots of hardscape elements.