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Faced with the task of designing a new Bowsher High School, a local architectural firm decided to seek ideas from those who walk Bowsher's halls, sweat in its gym, and learn in its classrooms: the students.
The Collaborative Inc., a firm based in downtown Toledo, held a design contest last week for students enrolled in Bowsher's art, metal shop, or architecture classes. Fifteen students worked alone or in two-person teams and submitted floor tile designs for the contest.
"Our intent is to actually incorporate these designs into the final design," said Dan Tabor, an architect with the firm. "We're looking for some inspiration."
On Saturday, Mr. Tabor worked with two other Collaborative employees and Toledo City Councilman Rob Ludeman, a Bowsher graduate, to judge the students' work. The 12 design entries were displayed in the school's library.
Students spent about a week creating their designs. They drew floor tile patterns for either the school's main entryway or the area outside the gym and auditorium.
Many of the designs used the school colors of blue and red, and several incorporated swords to represent the Bowsher sports teams, the Rebels.
"All the designs have some great potential," said Diane Thorpe, a Bowsher art instructor. "It was the students' opportunity to put their mark on the new building."
Senior Mallory Huffman, an art student, designed the winning tile pattern, which includes a logo with swords and the words "Rebel Pride." Her pattern is intended to go outside the school's gym.
"I thought it would be nice to do something aggressive because it's where the athletes play," she said. "I thought it was something the athletes could get into."
The judges praised the bold design and awarded her a $100 gift certificate to Westfield Shoppingtown Franklin Park.
They gave a $75 gift certificate to the second place winners, sisters Diann and Laura DiNardo, and a $50 gift certificate to junior Aaron McGurk, the third place winner.
The DiNardo sisters caught the judges' attention with the playful red arrow shapes in their design.
"It was fun to work together," Laura said. "Our dad went to Bowsher, so it's really a family thing for us."
The school will be built at the corner of South Detroit and Arlington avenues as part of an $821 million Toledo Public Schools program to replace or renovate more than 50 school buildings. The Collaborative is one of several firms working on the project, which is being funded by state and local taxes.
"We may incorporate aspects of all the students' designs. We have a lot of tile to do," Mr. Tabor said. "All the students worked hard to come up with ideas."
The four judges praised the overall quality of the students' designs.
"There's a lot of talent here," Mr. Ludeman said. "It was hard to come up with a top three."
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