On Saturday, January 21, 2017, nine area students competed in the Great Plains Regional Future City Competition held in Manhattan, Kansas. Out of 56 teams representing Kansas, Colorado and Missouri competing, the Rolla team of “Snowy Hills” won the Black & Veach Award which included a $200 technology grant.

On Saturday, January 21, 2017, nine area students competed in the Great Plains Regional Future City Competition held in Manhattan, Kansas.  Out of 56 teams representing Kansas, Colorado and Missouri competing, the Rolla team of “Snowy Hills” won the Black & Veach Award which included a $200 technology grant. Black & Veach is a leading engineering, consulting and construction company headquartered in Kansas City.  The team’s model will be on display Johnson County and then return to Rolla for display at the Kaleidoscope Discovery Center.
Snowy Hills Team Lead, Erich Baur said, “We’d like to give the $200 technology grant to the Kaleidoscope Discovery Center to purchase a site license for the SimCity software so that more students in our community can learn about how cities work!”
This year, the Future City topic was “The Power of Public Spaces” which required each team to convert a grayfield or brownfield and an abandoned railway, airstrip or highway into usable public space.  Over the past year this team made up of nine 6-8th grade public and homeschooled students, designed a city using SimCity software, wrote a research essay discussing the impact public spaces have on a city and its residents, put together a project plan, built a physical model (on display at the Kaleidoscope Discovery Center), and presented a seven-minute skit about their proposed solutions.
The Rolla team of “Snowy Hills” set it’s city’s location in Iceland where there is abundant geothermal and hydropower and used phytoremediation to address the successfully rehabilitated grayfield/brownfield turned into a goldfield, thus creating the new technical term “Growldfield” complete with “Everyone” discovery center, indoor community garden and a new forest where the parking lot was. Missouri S&T’s Dr. Joel Burken explained the phytoremediation process to the team, which was eager to learn how trees can tell us what is in the ground beneath using core sampling techniques.

 The team has also been following the development of solar roadways for the past three years and this year was able to use the concept in its solution of turning an abandoned air strip into an energy-producing outdoor public event space.  Tom Blair, Assistant Engineer at MoDOT, explained that Missouri will be testing out a section of solar roadways at the Conway, MO rest stop with installation to begin this year.

The community may have seen this group of students at the summer City-wide Open House held at The Centre! Floyd Jernigan, Director of Parks and Recreation, invited the team to staff a table and discuss their ideas for converting Murry Park into a more useable park space.  

The team received a $1000 donation from a private citizen to begin the changes, only $5000 more would be required to complete the project.

Special thanks to area professionals who met with this team to advise them on their project:  John Petersen, Rolla City Economic Development Director; Floyd Jernigan, Rolla City Director of Parks and Recreation;  Rodney Bourne, General Manager, Rolla Municipal Utilities and Vicki Cason, Staff Engineer, Rolla Municipal Utilities; Dr. Joel Burken, Professor and Department Chair of the Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Department, Dr. Stuart Baur, Associate Professor and Assistant Department Chair for Architectural Engineering, Missouri S&T and the Missouri S&T Solar House Team;  Caroleen Ferrell, Realty Executives; Mike Woessner and Cindy Beger of Investment Realty.

Nationally, over 40,000 students, representing 1350 schools and groups take part in the Future City Competition.  Major funding for Future City comes from the Bechtel Corporation, Bentley Systems, Inc. and the Shell Oil Company.

The Kaleidoscope Discovery Center offers a summer camp for students interested in learning more about cities.  This year the camp will run from July 10 – 14.  The Kaleidoscope team has competed in the past three years, winning a “Best Research Essay Award” in 2015.

Engineering and teaching mentors are always being sought for this program.  Those interested can contact the Kaleidoscope Discovery Center for more information.