PRESS RELEASE - January 19, 2007
BRIDGEPORT – Collaboration between local master-planned community Charles Pointe and West Virginia University (WVU) has taken landscape architecture and planning students out of the classroom and into the real world.
Early in the Fall 2006 semester, senior WVU landscape architecture students visited Charles Pointe to research a portion of the development for their first semester project. The visit led to a challenge for students: create a modern landscape plan that combines residential, recreational and commercial elements, a landscape classified as "mixed use" by industry professionals.
Steve McBride, chairman of the landscape architecture program and associate professor, explained that the project is a significant real-world experience for the students. "Charles Pointe is bringing West Virginia onto the landscaping architecture playing field with other more developed states where our graduates traditionally move to work. To my knowledge, this is the first time in state history where a large-scale development required planning and intelligent landscape resource design on all its site plans. I wanted our students to see it and participate in it."
James A. Corton, managing partner of Genesis Partners which manages Charles Pointe, said, "This project advances WVU students and, in turn, the state and the landscape architecture field. It’s flattering to be chosen as a model of excellent landscape design and planning, and we’re happy to be part of it."
The challenge for students was created by Tom Hall of Genesis Partners and Jim Haden of HadenStanziale who is assisting with the development of Charles Pointe. Both are graduates of West Virginia University and are licensed Landscape Architects. Hall is also a Certified Planner. "We wanted to give the students a real-world experience into problem solving, while working with varied terrain. Our project encompassed almost every aspect of landscape architecture and planning that the students will face as professionals," Hall said.
Haden said that he is impressed with the growth of the students. "The improvement that occurred between the mid-term review and the final presentations was very impressive. In fact, the quality of the designs may earn some of the students an internship at our firm." HadenStanziale has worked with planned communities throughout the country, ranging in size from less than 100 acres to over 14,000 acres, receiving numerous awards for design and environmental stewardship.
McBride was equally pleased with the progress of his students. "Charles Pointe is a reference of what can be done in a mixed-use community, which is becoming increasingly popular nationwide. The students learned a lot from their experiences here – not only in regard to land planning, but also in skills related to presenting their ideas to clients with polish and professionalism."
WVU’s landscape architecture program is ranked among the best undergraduate programs in the United States, according to the Design Futures Council; the program ranks in the top quarter nationally, and fourth in the eastern states.
For more information about Charles Pointe, log on to www.charlespointe.com; to learn more about the landscape architecture program at WVU, visit www.caf.wvu.edu/resm/la/.