PHS students plan new downtown recreation space
Gavin Steier laughed when he said it.
It does sound kind of funny, but it’s easy to get what he’s saying.
“When we were up there talking,” he said, “I didn’t feel like a high school student. I felt more like an actual person.”
He meant adult, professional, in the big leagues. And he was spot on.
Steier was one of several members of the PHS Launch group that presented to community and business leaders in mid-May at Block22. The topic: The Spot, a project the group has worked on all year.
The Spot is the culmination of an idea and plan to replace a dilapidated downtown building at 2nd and Walnut into a mix-use green space that could host events, food trucks, and a variety of other family-friendly activities.
Throughout the planning process, the Launch students worked with experts and leaders from throughout the community, including construction management students from Pittsburg State University.
Paul Moss, project manager for The Spot, said the entire process was an incredible learning experience.
“My favorite part of this whole thing was that what I learned wasn’t for a test or a worksheet,” he said. “This is something that could actually happen. What we were doing had an actual purpose.”
Cooper Hayden, a website associate director and assistant social media manager in Launch, said presenting their project to the community was “humbling.”
“It was awesome to see so many people here to see us and listen to us,” Hayden said. “We worked really hard on this, and it feels like a great way to close out the year.”
Mindy Cloninger, director of Community Partnerships for the Launch Program, said the community support was essential in the entire process.
“We could not be more appreciative to receive the City’s support, and we also know what it means for the future of Launch,” she said. “The students enrolled in Launch this fall will begin working on the next phase of The Spot, such as exploring potential funding sources and learning how we could actually build The Spot.”
Moss said he hopes their presentation showed that while they are young, high school students have a lot they can contribute to the community.
“When we got up there and started talking, I wanted people to know that we know what we’re talking about,” he said. “We may be high school students, but we’ve done some really cool things.”
As for where The Spot got its name, design lead Abe Alonso-Valdivia said it came about naturally.
“In the beginning, we came up with many different names, some of them were okay, and some were terrible,” he said. “We just kept saying we want people to go to this spot and do what they enjoy doing. And suddenly, it clicked that it was what we have been calling it all this time… we should make that the name.”
Visit PHS for more information on the launch.