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Nichols students show off their waterfront ideas

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Some Nichols high school students in Buffalo had a chance to present proposed waterfront building designs to an expert panel of judges.  WBFO's Focus on Education Reporter Eileen Buckley says students created geometric models to portray very unique ideas. 

Teams of 9th and 10th grade Nichols students displayed five very different design proposals explaining how each would make perfect sense for the city's growing waterfront.  The would-be developers had a chance to present much like a city planning board meeting to a panel of judges. It included a project manager from the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, Buffalo News Reporter Mark Sommer, who covers  development in the city and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.

The Mayor joked with one group about their low estimate on land costs for their design project called The Dart Hotel & Brewery. "In negotiating with developers, in the future in the city of Buffalo, I'm going to be referencing the Dart group. I just want you to know that," said Mayor Brown.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Judges discuss the design projects presented by Nichols students.

For the most part, students did their homework, but they learned there were gaps in their attempts as developers as the judges probed their ideas. "Have you guys thought about how many rooms you would have in your hotel?.  I wondered if you had thought about, in your own discussions, what people who might not like this project would say about it," asked judges."

The student design projects included condos, a renewable research lab and recreation center for art, dance and theater along with bungee jumping. But the judges selected The Dart Hotel & Brewery as the best project. 

Two of the winners, 10th graders Nichole Jusko and Kiera Callahan said it was nerve-racking.

"Well we just had like basic interpretation of how to build a building and it was really a lot of research involved," noted Jusko.  "A lot just goes into the whole process. We didn't even have all the answers to what they were asking us and we thought we had a lot," stated Callahan.   

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Two of the Nichols winners,10th graders Nichole Jusko and Kiera Callahan, represented The Dart Hotel & Brewery, winner of the competition.

Mayor Brown was very impressed with all the projects.

"It gave our young people the ability to think about what things costs, the kind of materials to use, the compatibility of of uses, who might support a project, who might opposed a project, how to pay for a project," said Brown.

"And what they came up with is always fascinating because they don't follow any set of rules and they just have that free-form," said Mary Anne Hejna, Math Teacher at Nichols.

Hejna was amazed by the students creativity and effort.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Buffalo Mayor Brown talks with two of the winners after the competition.

"Their going to go back to the classroom and they're going to want to know more.  Once you give them something, and someone gives back, then they go and want more, so it's just going to help their learning," said Hejna.

WBFO News asked the mayor if he might snagging some waterfront ideas.

"I expect to hear from a lot of these young people in the future. A number of them already have said that they will be coming to be in a few years for money for their projects," responded Mayor Brown.