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Realtors® Commend Students for School of the Future Designs

Media Contact: Leanne High / 202-383-1290 / Email

WASHINGTON (April 15, 2011) - The National Association of Realtors® welcomed middle school students from across the country this week to participate in the annual School of Future Design Competition. The competition encourages students to work in teams to plan and design a school that will improve the learning environment and the facility’s energy efficiency, be sensitive to the environment, and is integral to the surrounding community. This year’s winners were announced last night during an event held at NAR’s D.C. offices.

“Realtors® help build communities and schools are a crucial part of that,” said NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. “I am proud to recognize these leading students for their forward-thinking ideas and designs on sustainable buildings. Schools that are energy efficient and enhance learning are integral to stable communities, something Realtors® care very deeply about.”

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 documenting the planning process and rationale behind their project. Finalist teams receive a trip to Washington, D.C., to present their projects to the national design jury. The School of Future Design Competition is part of School Building Week, April 11-15. The week is sponsored by NAR and the Council of Educational Facility Planners International, as well as the National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Institute of Architects, and more than 35 associations and private companies.

This year the Awards of Excellence went to Teeland Middle School in Wasilla, Alaska, and Seneca Middle School in Macomb, Mich. The Awards of Merit went to Newtown Middle School in Newton, Conn., and Heritage Middle School in Wake Forest, N.C. Valley Academy Charter School in Phoenix, and Michael R. Null School in Houston received the Awards of Accommodation.

Teeland Middle School received a $2,000 prize for the Award of Excellence. Its unique design consisted of three wings representing mountains and a central common area reflecting Native Alaskan architecture. The sides of the outside structure are covered in vegetation and the top floor of each wing contains a solar-paneled glass dome. The team included a hydroponic garden inside the school where produce is used for organic lunches, a fish pond, and a stream that runs throughout the school. Sustainability is also prominent in the design with waste recycled into plant food and reusable tableware in the cafeteria.

A second Award of Excellence and a $2,000 prize was also awarded to the students from Seneca Middle School. The team created a boarding school on the site of Tiger Stadium, a former baseball field in Detroit. The future school will contain an organic urban farm, smart boards in each classroom, and a virtual reality room. Smart bricks control the heating and cooling system based on temperature change and a green roof reduces energy use.

Students from Newtown Middle School received the Award of Merit and were awarded $1,000. They produced a design for an eco-friendly and energy-efficient school that educates students and inspires conservation and responsibility. Their future school design included skylights, multi-purpose flexible space, ID cards and surveillance cameras promoting a sense of security, and elevators and automatic doors for handicapped students and visitors. The design will also be used as a learning tool for students, containing an underwater classroom in a nearby river, a telescope dome for astronomy studies, and a garden to give students the opportunity to learn about biology.

Heritage Middle School also received $1,000 and the Award of Merit. The team of students incorporated energy-efficient resources, eco-friendly additions and high-tech gadgets into their future school design which reflects a retrofit of a current structure. The school features three alternative energy sources generated on campus and routed through its own power plant, inspired by a recent trip the team took to the North Carolina State Solar House. To incorporate the school into the local community, the students designed a community fitness trail located in an arboretum which houses several fitness stations and equipment.

Two schools received the Award of Accommodation and $500. Valley Academy Charter School designed an art studio incorporating vibrant color and lighting to stimulate creativity. Michael R. Null Middle School created an energy-efficient school by using hydropower to fuel its water sources and create its own electricity with a glass roof.

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. This and other news releases are posted in the News Media section.