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Early College Kicks Off Park Project
Early College Kicks Off Park Project
Posted on 03/10/2020
On Friday, 63 first-year students met with local experts at the Mission Health/A-B Tech Conference Center to get input about BCEC’s Azalea Park project.By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

Buncombe County Early College (BCEC) is connecting students to their community and using challenge-based learning to create future-driven leaders!

On Friday, 63 first-year students met with local experts at the Mission Health/A-B Tech Conference Center to get input about BCEC’s Azalea Park project. The experts, in fields ranging from water quality to construction to GIS to journalism, discussed questions the students need to answer as they plan how to transform the undeveloped riverbank area.

“We want to learn as much as we can so we can do the best job possible,” said first-year student Logan Worcester, who is documenting the project for his classmates. “We're working on something real, and that makes us feel more like professionals.”

The students, assisted by community partners and the City of Asheville, are examining how to use innovative and sustainable design methods in public spaces to increase and support environmentally healthy interactions between humans and nature. Later this spring, they will pitch their plans to the community experts and partners, RiverLink, and Asheville Parks and Recreation Department.

At Friday’s event, groups of students moved from table to table, listening intently and taking notes as the experts shared insight from their fields relating to the project.

“This is a pretty rock star cast we’ve got here,” said BCEC College, Career and Community Coordinator Jeff Fleckenstein. “We’re really excited to have all these individuals who are willing to help our students. This is a cooperative, innovative model that is taking classroom learning into the real world.”

And it’s career development, he added. The students met working professionals in all the fields that comprise a park redevelopment project. Those experts shared their personal stories and described how they approach their work.

“They asked thoughtful questions about how I chose my profession, what do I enjoy about my job, and asked for my thoughts regarding some of the design challenges with Azalea Park,” said landscape architect Mary Weber, one of the experts. “I applaud the BCEC for getting the students involved in a real-world project with community partners, and I’m thrilled that they are learning about sustainability and design issues at such a young age. It gives me hope for the future.”

    Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin,, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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