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Media Contact: Michelle Wardlaw / 202-383-1042 / Email

WASHINGTON (April 30, 2010) –Wind and solar power, recycled building materials and structures that encourage community involvement are all components of winning designs for the annual School of the Future Design Competition. Winners were announced last night at ceremony held at the National Association of Realtors®.

The contest gives middle school students the opportunity to redesign their school spaces to enhance learning, save energy, preserve resources, and make connections to the surrounding community.

“Realtors® build communities, and well-planned schools are critical to the growth of those communities,” said NAR President Vicki Cox Golder, owner of Vicki L. Cox & Associates in Tucson, Ariz. “There is a new focus on designing state-of-the-art schools that are energy efficient, are more cost-effective to maintain, provide more natural light and better indoor air quality, and are better places for students to learn and educators to teach. The winners of this year’s competition should be proud of their innovative ideas and hard work.”

Finalist teams receive a free trip to Washington, D.C., to present their projects to the national design jury and the opportunity to meet with their senators and representatives on Capitol Hill as part of School Building Week, April 26-30. The week is sponsored by NAR and the Council of Educational Facility Planners International Foundation, as well as the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Institute of Architects and more than 30 associations and private companies.

The School of the Future Design Competition kicks off each year in September. Each student team is required to submit a project model made from recycled materials, a short video or presentation, and a 750-word narrative description explaining the planning process and rationale behind their project.

The grand prize winner was Barnette Middle School, Fairbanks, Alaska. Second place went to the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School, Old Lyme, Conn. Third place went to Seneca Middle School, Macomb, Mich. Honorable mentions went to Heritage Year Round Middle School, Wake Forest, N.C.; Roskruge Bilingual K-8, Tucson, Ariz.; Howard University Middle School/Math and Science, Washington, D.C.; and Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools, New Orleans, La.

Barnette Middle School was presented with a check for $2,000 for its first-place project. To develop their future school, the students studied the blueprints for the renovation of their current school, read architecture magazines and observed other unique sustainable schools for ideas. They chose a 53,000 square-foot design divided into four sections – earth, water, air and fire. The center of the school features a common space crowned by a quadruple-paned glass geodesic dome.

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School received $1,500 for its second-place design, which uses geothermal, wind and solar power renewable energy sources. The school features photovoltaic solar cells and a wind turbine to supply the electricity. LED lights and motion sensors in each classroom would help reduce the use of electricity, and a geothermal system below the fields surrounding the school would provide heating and cooling.

Seneca Middle School was awarded $1,000 for their third-place project. The students developed a design that included a community center that provides a space for meetings, adult education and computer access. Since technology plays an important role in the learning environment, each student would be provided with an interactive desk and holographic pen, and handheld electronic textbooks will replace traditional paper schoolbooks. A glass roof would provide solar heating in the winter.

The student teams at Heritage Year Round Middle School, Roskruge Bilingual, Howard University Middle School and Kids Rethink New Orleans School each received $500 for their honorable mention design projects. Heritage Year Round Middle School students proposed a school with energy-efficient materials like solar panels, solar tubes, rain barrels, tinted windows, and natural light. The students chose low VOC paints as well as LED lighting, rain barrels and green roofs. The school includes recycled tire walkways, indoor elevators, and wheelchair ramps for mature individuals and those with differing abilities.

The design from Roskruge Bilingual would use bio walls and a green roof to insulate the school and improve air quality. The green roof would also be used as an outdoor classroom to study biology and ecology, and would grow plants for the school’s landscaping and organic vegetables for the cafeteria.

Howard University Middle School designed an airplane-style school building with the entrance, administrative offices and observatory housed in the cockpit area. The library, auditorium, and cafeteria extend from the building like wings. The building would use solar panels to convert light rays from the sun into electricity, and recycled rainwater would be used in the lavatories.

Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools designed a circular structure which includes solar panels that produce electricity and a cistern to collect rainwater for the school garden. All cafeteria materials would be biodegradable to create compost for the gardens.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Information about NAR is available at www.realtor.org. News releases are posted in the Web site’s “News Media” section in the NAR Media Center.