WVU Students Visit Charles Pointe for Research Project

The Exponent Telegram

Monday, January 22, 2007

By Jim Fisher – METRO EDITOR

BRIDGEPORT – While it’s not uncommon for students studying landscape architecture and planning to work on a class project with a developer, it usually doesn’t involve actually going to the site.

That’s because many of the developments are out of state.

But with one of the largest, most complex developments in West Virginia at Charles Pointe, developers Genesis Partners saw a good opportunity to give students at West Virginia University a unique experience.

Early in the semester last fall, senior landscape architecture students visited Charles Pointe for research on a project they were working on. That visit led Tom Hall of Genesis and Jim Haden of Haden Stanziale, a company assisting with the development of the master-planned community, to create a challenge for the students.

The challenge was to create a modern landscape plan that combines residential, recreational and commercial elements, which is classified as mixed use by industry professionals.

Steve McBride, chair of the landscape architecture program and associate professor at WVU, said in a release that he wanted the students involved in the project because Charles Pointe is such a unique venture in West Virginia.

He said Charles Pointe is the first such project in the state where a large development required planning and landscape resource design in all phases, and is helping move West Virginia into the same arena as other more developed states, where graduates traditionally move to work.

Hall and Haden are both WVU graduates, and Haden has worked with the school on other projects involving students.

The landscape architecture students were able to look at what’s being done right now at Charles Pointe, schematic plans for the next phases and then develop ideas for areas without detailed designs, Hall said.

"They really enjoyed getting out on the site," he said. ‘Most of the projects they work on are out of state, so they don’t get their feet on the ground."

Genesis managing partner Jamie Corton said he was very impressed with a lot of the ideas that the students came up with for future developments. Younger students are a good counter-balance and often bring a fresh perspective from industry professionals, he said.