From dream to design, Jeffersontown High students stage a makeover

The students have worked with teachers and mentors to create a 3D rendering of the project, a schedule and a budget.

By Toni Konz Tatman | JCPS Communications

As students in Jeffersontown High School's Build and Design Academy, Reece Sistrunk and Andrew Puckett are always looking to create innovative solutions to real-life challenges. 

The stage inside the large gymnasium at Jeffersontown High School

Their latest project—repurposing the stage in the school's large gymnasium—may soon become a reality, as the two teens have worked with teachers and mentors to create a 3D rendering of the project as well as a schedule and a budget.

"We wanted to do something different, something that would benefit J-town for years to come," said Reece, 16, a junior. "And that's when we thought, 'Why not repurpose the stage?' The stage has not been used in years; they mostly just use it for storage." 

Their design would do away with the raised stage area and make it into a two-level area with a mezzanine and lots of storage space.

The two originally started the project about a year ago as part of the Architecture Construction Engineering (ACE) mentoring after-school group that connects J-town students to contractors, engineers and architects.

Since then, they have set up meetings with JCPS District officials to get a building modification approved and have started to make contact with community leaders for donations to make their design a reality. So far, they have raised $22,000 for the $95,000 project.

"I didn't think it would get this far this soon," Reece said. "We hope to have all of the money secured by May of 2018."

Ashley Drager, the school's academy coach, says this project is a great example of what J-town is trying to achieve with its engineering and computer-aided design and drafting programs. She says the two teens have worked with their teacher, Jason Stepp, on the project since the beginning.

"They have taken this idea, and they've run with it," Drager said. "It shows student initiative and leadership. It's been exciting to watch it all unfold."

Reece and Andrew will present their project to the Jefferson County Board of Education at the board meeting at Jeffersontown High on Nov. 28.

J-town is 1 of 11 high schools in JCPS participating in Academies of Louisville, a new kind of educational experience that shifts from traditional techniques and environments to deeper learning and transition readiness for college, career and life. 

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