Today was spent largely on last minute preparations for presentations to Planning and Zoning for that evening. We polished our work, changed a few more details and rehearsed. Dylan is our plant expert and he worked on tidying up our plant selection details.
Dress rehearsal was in our Conference Room later that morning. We felt much better today after making many, many improvements to our work. Thank goodness for dress rehearsal and the opportunity to clean things up.
At 1:00 we moved our class over to City Hall to set up our projector and to run another, more formal dress rehearsal on site. We were nervous but felt ready to go for that evening.
Finally, after minor details and a few more adjustments, we were ready for the task ahead... the P & Z meeting!
5:45 came quickly and dressed for success, we were on. The Planning and Zoning Commission listened intently.
Each group presented their design complete with a detailed explanation of their park's features. Each group had set a goal on the first day of the project regarding what we wanted to create and accomplish in our designs. We shared with P & Z members how every feature contributed to that initial goal.
The Planning and Zoning Commission members had a lot of great questions. They made us think on our feet to explain the budget, park sustainability, safety issues, parking considerations, and finally about our learning process through this Project Based Learning endeavor. They were such great listeners and helped us to learn the ropes of this critically important governmental process. We are very grateful for this opportunity and the kind yet serious manner in which Planning and Zoning members treated this us and our project designs.
All in all, at the end of the day we felt successful and proud. We had made it through an important step in our two week journey. Yet.... tomorrow meant more work. Marc and BJ were coming and we had to take a last serious look at our budgets. We knew we had already gone over... little did we know how much..... and how the work day would unfold.
Today we started out by creating a team plan. We are getting down to the wire... crunch time. To begin, we generated a "To Do List". Again, we broke our teams into smaller groups with an assignment for everyone. Then, we rolled up our sleeves and went to work. There was much to accomplish and time was running out. One thing we have learned is that a job like this requires many, many refinements and we wanted our plans to be in the best they could be for presentations at the Planning and Zoning tomorrow.
By 10:45, we had worked pretty hard. It was time for a little comic relief! Brayden provided us with a quick demonstration of the Guacamole Song... You can see him singing and dancing along! A good ole belly laugh was just what the Dr. ordered. Some moments are simple unforgettable!! Thanks, Brayden!! Everyone plays an important role on a team!!!
About that time, Mrs. Welle came in and announced that EVERY ADMINISTRATOR IN THE DISTRICT was in the halls and might possibly be headed our way for a visit. We got back to work ..... REAL FAST!!!!!! Besides, we had presentations to write!
Sure enough..... . We had them at hello!!! Doesn't Mason look administrative?!?!
In all seriousness, we were so glad they came. We were proud to show them our work and to give them our Dime Store spiel. But mostly, we were honored that they cared so much to stop in check it all out!
By 1:30 (right on schedule) we were in the Conference Room for our first trial run presentations.
We were so grateful for an opportunity to work in a professional setting with state of the art tech equipment.
Our teams collaborated and gave each other constructive feedback so that we could help each other improve. Each of our teams had strengths and weaknesses. We shared our ideas so we could all be strong. In the end, it was clear that we had a lot more work to do. We left the Conference Room as our last bell of the day rang. Knowing our time was of the essence, we made a commitment to work on a plan that night for our next day's tasks. We had to be organized and clear about what had to be done. No time to waste. It had been a great day, but we were amazed at how much work it takes to plan a park. Tomorrow we will refine and polish yet again!
Today was a cold day outside (-32*), but inside we worked feverishly as we calculated the hours and determined we were in deadline crunch time. As of 8:30 this morning, we had exactly 56 hours until our first presentations to the Planning and Zoning Commission. This meant the teams had to divide and conquer. Everyone had to work!!
Some team members worked on the budget details. Others prepared pictures and handouts for our Planning and Zoning as well as City Council members. And, still others worked on letters that would be sent out to potential donors explaining our project and the features that might be available for purchase and or donations to bring our project to fruition as we have designed them.
Some continued on with the never ending details of the design process. Always room for improvement......
BJ came in to check on our progress and to give us much needed advice on how to calculate the costs for our water features, block pathways and landscaping plants. We are so grateful for his willingness to share his expertise with us.
BJ spent so much time explaining the ins and outs of how to figure the number of pavers, rocks, and other materials needed for our park features.
He even stayed after hours to work alongside one eager beaver!! (Isaac was a determined and engaged man......You can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he wraps his brain around BJ's coaching rhetoric.
Mason worked hard at researching sundials. He was intent and very focused on the task at hand!
And, our PR man, Damien, kept us in awesome pictures with his excellent photography skills. We could not have such great blogs without him! Thanks, Damien!! We appreciate your good work and the fact that you throw out the not-so-flattering pics....We owe you Hu Hot!
We started our day with a little planning and a simple question...."What has been one of the biggest "takeaways" from our work over the past week?" There were multiple responses, but...one that seemed to surface again and again was, "We didn't realize how much planning and detail went into a project such as this".
Next, we spent team time preparing to consult with our local experts. We knew we had questions..... Little did we know how this simple exercise had somehow, almost serendipitously, set the stage for a day of mind bending calisthenics beyond our wildest imaginations.
Mid-morning, Marc Steffes and Adam Van Gorp (our contracting and architectural experts) came into the scene. Since Marc was joining us for the first time, he shared a little bit about himself and his educational and professional background.
After getting to know a little about Marc and his background, Marc and Adam split up (each taking one team), and set about the task of conferencing and consulting with each group. They were brutally honest and shared with us the reality of all of the hidden costs beyond our figures which included only the obvious surface expenditures such as park benches and picnic tables.
The guys questioned us and made us think....outside the box! Adam coached us on presentation considerations, funding source ideas, and more architectural considerations. He took us back to the drawing board.... pushing us again to bring in more detail and clarity!!!
By noon, our heads were swimming and we were ready for a break. Today, we had really earned it and we knew we had our work cut out for us when we returned.
And the reality....?!?!? Our experts gently delivered the news that each of our teams is likely around $20,000 OVER BUDGET.....(insert scary music here!!!) But let's face it..... Isn't that true reality (and the challenge) for many, if not most projects??? Now we have to get real about researching our actual total costs, we have to make adjustments, and we have to get creative about obtaining funding sources to bring our dreams to reality!!
At the end of the day, we had circled back and learned that the process for designing a park encompasses even more depth and breadth than we had initially discussed earlier in the morning. The silver lining????....two amazing local experts, willing to share their time and talents and to stretch our minds in an educational journey.
And the real reality.....we learned soooooo much and that's what J Terms is all about..... the learning!! Thanks to Marc and Adam for a great day!!!!
Another great day!! After traveling yesterday, we started off on the path to revision utilizing the information we were given. Our first goal of the day was to edit our designs and to prepare for a consultation with our expert architect Adam Van Gorp.
Adam checked out our designs for potential flaws and issues. He gave us information on new considerations and asked us to sketch out some of our park features for better clarity. After he left us, we felt good about where we were currently sitting in our design process, but we also knew we had a lot of details to work through to get our designs up to par. Before lunch, we rounded up the troops for reflections and we listed some new team goals and assignments for each member.
After lunch, it was back to the drawing board.... literally for some of us. One of our assignments was to sketch out a building with better detail. Brayden is working hard and doing a mighty fine job using the skills (and tools) he learned about in Woods Class and CADD.
(January 10th .. a day late due to traveling)
Today, we traveled to Sioux City to visit with Matt Salvatore at the Sioux City Parks and Recreation department. Matt, a UNI graduate, was also born and raised in the Parks and Recreation culture as his father served in the role of Park Superintendent for the City of Fort Dodge for 30 years.
After serving in the cities of Sheldon, Ida Grove, and Des Moines, Matt settled in Sioux City in 2014 where his time has been spent coordinating the creation of large Parks and Recreation projects as well as the day to day operations of the city's parks including up maintenance and scheduled events. His most recent project, Cone Park, was completed in December of 2017. At Cone Park, visitors can enjoy a warming house with a fireplace, an ice skating rink which doubles as a summer splash pad. The park also features a skiing and a tubing hill. Additionally, Matt is currently tackling the coordination of the 12 million dollar Sioux City Riverfront Project and a downtown Bomgaars Agricultural/Equestrian/Sports Arena.
While at the Parks and Rec headquarters, students met with Matt to discuss the ins and outs of such project coordination. He taught us about the process involving city government (Planning and Zoning and the City Council) as well as obtaining input from local citizens. He helped us to better understand the ropes for funding such projects using tax dollars as well as grants. We learned so much from Matt and we are grateful for his willingness to share his time and talents!!
Before leaving Sioux City, we toured the Riverfront Project site and the recently completed Cone Park! Beautiful work!! And what fun for the citizens of Sioux City!
And.... we checked out some playground equipment... (to experience the parks on a first hand basis and check out the aesthetics personally)!!
With a nasty forecast still looming and the possibility of losing precious work time, we hit the pavement running today. Our local landscaping expert, BJ Ferguson, arrived at 8:15 and started us off promptly with a real second day treat. BJ shared his journey for becoming a local landscaping entrepreneur with us and how it all began as a family. Born and raised near Terril, BJ's father and uncle started Ferguson's Landscaping on their family farm where sod and trees were grown for the business. Next, he shared personal experiences and gave great advice for consideration when planning their designs.
BJ brought a collection of landscaping and plant books to share with us. The books provided us with multiple material options. From them, we were able to glean some pretty cool design ideas. At this point, our creative juices began to flow......and oh, what a day it would be!!
At 10:00 AM, we did a short team reflection and quickly moved into the lab to get on the computers. We broke our team out into smaller groups. Some of us drew out potential designs using paper and pencil first, focusing on our major park features and placement options for each. Then, using measurements of the property (provided to us by Planning and Zoning), we plotted out our design space and got to work. Some of us went to the library to research the history of Milford and the influence of the old grist mills. Other team members worked on researching time capsules and how to best seat them into the park. We were so "into our work", we hardly noticed when lunchtime arrived. My, how time flies!!
By 2:00 PM, our daily team reflection and planning time, we had our preliminary designs in order. We had started our presentations and budgets, and now, we are ready to meet with our architect and construction experts (Adam Van Gorp and Marc Steffes) to move our designs to the next level! Oh, what a day it can be!!
" Monday, January 8th, 2018"
Today is "Kick-Off Day" for OHS J-Term 2018 and our PBL "Flip This Space"...... are we jazzed!!!! Our day started with an introduction of our contributing experts and the presentation of the challenge by Mr. Tim Kinnetz, owner of Grapetree and multiple other area businesses. We were excited to meet Mr. BJ Ferguson from 4EverGreen Landscaping, Mr. Adam Van Gorp from CMBA Architects, Jeanenne Kinnetz from Grapetree, Eyleen Anderson former Okoboji History Teacher, and special guest, Mrs. Lynn Koelling a local history contributor. Thanks to Tim for an inspirational kick-off message!! He really started us off on the right foot!
Next, students were treated to a plethora of sound design advice from Mr. Adam Van Gorp from CMBA Architects. Matt led us down the path for anticipating potential pitfalls in an effort to assist students in preventing future struggles. Adam also helped us to set goals and define our team objectives as the guiding principles for our developments. He encouraged us to ask ourselves what "story" or "main idea" would be the focal point for design. What would visitors learn in the park and what would they do in this space when spending time there? Thank you Adam! You are a lifeline!!!
At this point in the day, we were ready for action!! We rolled up our sleeves and began the real work of brainstorming. We were excited beyond words!!
We spent the afternoon exploring our RealTime Landscaping software and learning the ropes of designing a space with the tools of technology. So cool!!!
After that, we looked over our evaluative rubrics so that we clearly understand all that is expected of us in our roles these next two weeks. Our performance will be measured in the areas of Collaboration, Innovation and Creativity, and finally, Presentations.
What an awesome day!! We learned so much and we were able to complete all of our planned learning targets!!
Tomorrow the rubber hits the road... with sketchy weather in the forecast, we know there is no time to waste.