Local students assist township mapping project

What do SkillsUSA, the Vanguard-Tech Center and Hopewell Township have in common?

Students in the design engineering and architecture program at Vanguard-Tech recently assisted the township’s board of trustees to create updated maps of Bascom, Hopewell Township and parts of Seneca County for a zoning map project.

Seniors Jees Gruber, Katelyn Walsh and Devin Pettiford developed the maps with the aid of software, including AutoCAD, Civil 3D 2010 and Google Earth, to create multi-level, color-coded maps of streets, alleys, bodies of water, railroads, county roads, highways, churches and schools.

Their instructor, Tonya Breidenbach, helped with getting initial contact with the board and providing students with mentorship and guidance.

The students will take their project to the state SkillsUSA competition in April. They also will be competing in the architecture construction category of the Tech Prep Showcase.

Gruber said the board’s maps had not been updated since 1997.

“The maps that we are creating are much more advanced, with the help of satellite imagery,” Gruber said. “The maps will help the board with any zoning problems that they may face.”

For the board, Gruber said the maps will be able to be accessed online through a website designed by Pettiford by using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Dreamweaver.

“The previous maps were old and the colors had merged together. These new maps will be able to be accessed easier by the board and can be sent to each member,” Gruber said.

The township is paying students $400 for the project.

The money is to go to Patrick Forsyth, a 2011 graduate who has been diagnosed with severe aplastic-anemia, a rare disease of the immune system. The money is to help with transportation and medical costs.

Gruber and Walsh had competed in the national SkillsUSA competition last year and finished fourth. They competed in the same category; their project was to design a handicap-accessible home for a family to use long-term.

“With competing before, we know what to expect and it has given us more confidence in the project,” Gruber said. “(Plus) competing is so much fun.”

“With competing as juniors, the students have gained a responsibility and ownership and a sense of encouragement to be successful,” Breidenbach said. “Their exposure will help them become well-rounded individuals into their college careers.”

The students want to use this opportunity to further their long-term career goals.

Gruber wants to attend The Ohio State University for mechanical engineering. Walsh would like to study interior design at Cleveland Institute of Art, while Pettiford wants to study multimedia web design.