Students from SU’s Community Design Center to compete in final round of the Chase Community Development competition
Students from SU’s Community Design Center to compete in final round of the Chase Community Development competitionMay 04, 2001Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
An interdisciplinary team of students from Syracuse University’s Community Design Center in the School of Architecture made it to the final round of the 2001 JP Morgan Chase Community Development competition, which will be held May 8 at the company’s world headquarters in New York City. SU will compete against teams from Hunter College and Columbia University. The Chase competition is designed to foster partnerships between universities and community-based nonprofit institutions to present design and financing proposals for real-world projects. First place winners take home $25,000 for their partner institution. Second and third place teams receive $10,000 and $5,000, respectively. The preliminary round was held April 24 in New York City, where the SU team was among seven that were invited to present to a jury of 19 professionals. “The Syracuse team had a tremendous presentation, an excellent nonprofit partnership and displayed an intelligent, in-depth knowledge of the material,” says Jean Smith, vice president at JP Morgan Chase. The SU team members are Matthew Brown and Amy Farina from the School of Architecture; Nicole Allen and Erik Limiptlaw from the College of Law; Steve Hanmer, a public administration major in The Maxwell School; Sid Abrol, an M.B.A. student in the School of Management; and Sarah Korf, a policy studies major in The College of Arts and Sciences. “It’s been a pleasure to work with enthusiastic students that bring to the challenge a broad range of experience and expertise,” says David Gamble, assistant professor of architectyre and director of the Community Design Center. “They have worked very well together as a team.” This is the second year in a row that a team from SU has made it to the final round of the competition. Last year, the SU team garnered second place and a $10,000 prize for the Jowonio School, which partnered with the Community Design Center to develop a comprehensive plan for a new building for the school. The Jowonio School used the prize money to develop a feasibility study for its capital campaign for the new building.
This year, the Community Design Center partnered with Concerned Urban Parents (CUP Inc.), the Syracuse Housing Authority and the Syracuse Department of Parks and Recreation on a proposal to expand the existing Wilson Park Community Center, 1001 S. McBride St., which is located in the city’s Pioneer Homes public housing project. The proposed expansion is part of a larger, ongoing project between the University and Wilson Park sponsored by The Maxwell School’s Public Affairs Program under the direction of Professor William Coplin to provide educational programming at the center. Each semester since the fall of 1999, approximately 50 undergraduate students have organized a variety of programs at the center, including after school tutoring and mentoring programs, cheerleading clinics, computer training programs, a Girl Scout troop and a flag football program. A second group of students develop, manage and evaluate the programs as part of the requirements for a course in community problem solving (PAF 416). Last fall, Coplin presented the Community Design Center with the challenge of redesigning Wilson Park in a way that would better meet the growing needs of the center. The center is located about 300 yards from the edge of SU’s campus in the middle of a high poverty area where more than 1,000 children and young adults live. Gamble and his team of students held a series of meetings with the residents of Pioneer Homes and Concerned Urban Parents Inc., and worked with officials from the City of Syracuse and from the Syracuse Housing Authority to develop a comprehensive design proposal for the center, which includes construction of an addition that will double the size of the existing building. The addition would be used for a variety of programs, the centerpiece of which would be a proposed 30-station Computer-Based Learning Center. Community Design Center students spent the fall and spring semesters refining the drawings for the building, coordinating their efforts with the Public Affairs Program and building the community coalition needed for the project. “I am very pleased with the Wilson Park Chase competition project,” Coplin says. “It has provided a model for cooperation across SU’s schools and colleges that leads to enhanced learning for students. The forces stimulated by the competition have in turn enhanced the efforts of Concerned Urban Parents to have a dream fulfilled. Finally, the academic exercise in this case has become a real-world catalyst that could both enrich the lives of people living in Pioneer Homes and also forge a strong and mutually beneficial cooperative relationship between the University and the community.” Under a written proposal submitted by Coplin, the expanded building would be operated and managed through a partnership of the Syracuse Housing Authority and the City Parks and Recreation Department. Concerned Urban Parents would provide oversight for the programs offered at the center and SU’s Public Affairs Program would organize programming support from the University’s students and faculty. Funding for the building, which is estimated to cost $440,000, and programs would come from private, nonprofit and government sources. SU is currently seeking funding jointly with community partners from the federal Housing and Urban Development Community Outreach Partnership Center Program. The Wilson Park project will be one of the major components of the HUD proposal.