Central Iowa ACE Mentor Program Students Win First Place in National Competition

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Eight Des Moines-area high school students from the ACE Mentor Program of Central Iowa (ACE C-IA) claimed the top prize of $5,000 recently in the Construction Industry Round Table (CIRT)/ACE Mentor Program National Design Competition.  The student group traveled to Washington, DC where Joseph Bahnsen of Des Moines East High School presented their mock design for a Modular Education Addition to a panel of judges that included CEOs from top national design and construction firms.  

Wilf Nixon, professor of civil and environmental engineering and faculty research engineer at IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering, is a member of the board of directors of the Central Iowa ACE Mentor Program.

The students were given three potential project options to pursue.  Based on their own experiences with subpar ‘portable’ classrooms, the students felt that this problem was the most important to address and had the greatest potential for innovative design and construction.  Between September, 2012 and March 2013, the students met once a week to discuss ideas, propose solutions and, ultimately, create an award-winning project that address design at multiple scales.  Utilizing factory-built modules that can be quickly fabricated and shipped to sites throughout the nation, the team soon realized that their education module had added benefits including creating better learning environments for low-income school districts and even providing temporary structures to aid disaster relief efforts.

The teams were judged their ability to make a clear, comprehensive, coherent and cogent presentation on the design/construction approaches while being fully responsive to the competition package elements in the challenge/RFP.

ACE C-IA Competition team members included:
• Nicole Bramow, Ankeny High School
• Sirina Reed, Ankeny High School
• Joseph Bahnsen, Des Moines East High School
• Ross Nickey, Des Moines Lincoln High School
• Eric Cole, Southeast Polk High School
• Katie Smithart, Southeast Polk High School
• Jordan Hutton, West Des Moines Valley High School
• Saketh Undurty, West Des Moines Valley High School