North Houston Association Representatives Meet with Blanson CTE Students for Park Design

COVID-19 is pressing the pause button on a Blanson CTE High School park project, but North Houston Association (NHA) members look forward to continued work together when Aldine ISD students return to their classrooms.  

In a joint project with NHA members, students recently worked to design a new park adjacent to Blanson CTE High School, forming a valuable partnership with real-world benefits. 

At the end of 2019, representatives from Blanson CTE High School in Aldine ISD reached out to NHA for direction with a park project their students were passionate about. 

NHA President, Marlisa Briggs, met with school and district representatives, enthusiastically agreeing to help with the park. “This is a perfect project for NHA – not only does it create usable green space, but also gives students the opportunity to learn first-hand from professionals in the business community,” Briggs said.

After the initial meeting, Briggs connected Blanson representatives with NHA member Aaron Tuley, AICP, who was excited to get his staff at Halff Associates involved.

The AutoCAD students’ initial assignment was to design a park for a large, 15-acre open space adjacent to (and part of) the Blanson CTE High School property. Students were divided into teams of two and spent several weeks developing park programs and designs for the site, which they named Jaguar Park.

In February, Tuley, who is also Vice-Chair of NHA’s Environment and Water Committee, and his senior Landscape Architect, Casey Collins, RLA, were invited to the High School to attend  a design review of the student teams’ projects. The 10 student teams were allotted 15 minutes each for their presentation. Each team was asked to discuss:

1) how they responded to the site’s constraints (challenges) and opportunities;

2) how they have fulfilled the program, with respect to meeting the needs of the intended users;

3) what facilities and amenities have they incorporated into their designs;

4) and how they have created a sense of place with the various park amenities.

Mr. Tuley and Mr. Collins then provided insightful comments regarding the quality of students’ presentations, and the unique characteristics and attributes of each team’s designs for Jaguar Park.

According to Wanda Ardoin-Bailey, Coordinator of Campus & Student Initiatives, “Our students will not forget this experience. The students received valuable information and feedback on their designs.”

Mr. Tuley followed up with Ms. Ardoin-Bailey and suggested several funding opportunities the High School might consider applying for to implement the preferred park design, including SPARK, Kaboom, and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.