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Skaneateles students benefit from visit by Notre Dame

District opened up offices to assist the planning process.

A massive work effort by graduate students from the University of Notre Dame who were in town last week ended up benefiting not only the town and village, as planned, but Skaneateles High School as well.

Because the architecture grad students were working out of school district offices all week, administrators and board members suggested high school students might benefit from seeing them in action as they studied the Comprehensive Plan that guides development in the village and town.

As a result, some students were able to observe as the graduate students gathered more information than almost imaginable in one week, digested it, and presented it to the community.

"It was mind-blowing what they knew about the town, and so interesting to see how they worked together," Kimie Case, a high school senior, said after watching the graduate students design overlays to a huge map of the town. Case is considering studying either landscape architecture or architecture in college. She and two other students interested in the field were able to shadow/observe the graduate students, who are getting masters degrees in architecture with an emphasis in urban planning/design.

Teacher Sue Pingel took students in her college-credit Intro to American Politics class to district offices Friday. She said the high school seniors are at the point "where they should be seeing how all of those different courses blend together in real world planning."

It was a perfect opportunity for them to see just that, she said. "They saw and talked about the interconnections between history, science, government, planning and design," she said of her seniors.

The graduate students, with the input from groups in Skaneateles, were grappling with issues involving ecology, drainage patterns, zoning laws and the natural tension between modern and traditional and growth and preservation, she said. It was stimulating for her students to observe.

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