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Students from Plano ISD Academy High School recently visited the Interurban Railway Museum in downtown Plano to research area history as part of the school's "Suburban Soul" project.

Students from Plano ISD Academy High School recently visited the Interurban Railway Museum in downtown Plano to research area history as part of the school's "Suburban Soul" project.

Jaclyn Moore, Academy High School's 11th grade art facilitator and 12th grade art history facilitator, is working with the school's 69 seniors on this project.  The students are divided into 17 teams.

For the "Suburban Soul" project, Moore presented students with the hypothetical concept that City of Plano is interested in re-purposing the area occupied by Collin Creek Mall. Students have been told that the city wants to redevelop the space by providing a location to gather as a community and celebrate Plano’s culture. Students have been challenged to create a planning and strategy document that will detail a new and innovative development that takes into consideration the city's history as well as the city's current needs.

Students have also been tasked with creating an architectural model that will, upon completion, be showcased in Plano City Hall.  Students must also provide architectural perspective drawings, must detail how technology will be used in their proposed space and must show a virtual or physical design for a landmark monument that would be included in the space.

"The museum provided the students with background information necessary to give them contextual information that will allow them to create smarter re-designs that are grounded in the city’s history," said Moore. "We hope the outcome will be that they understand the importance of preserving our city’s rich history and what it takes to revitalize areas and change areas, and why these things are necessary and important."

Academy High School is a fully interdisciplinary high school, said Moore. The "Suburban Soul" project incorporates all the subjects in which students are enrolled: English, Engineering, Pre-calculus, Computer Science, Government, Art History, and Foreign Language.

The Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation, Inc. guided students through tours of the museum and Interurban Rail Car 360 and provided details and information about Plano's history for the group. 

The Plano Conservancy also arranged for City of Plano Comprehensive Planning Manager Doug McDonald to be at the museum during the students' visit.  McDonald answered students' questions and talked to them about the intricacies of city planning.

"We were pleased to be able to serve as a resource for these talented students who are undertaking a tremendous project," said Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation, Inc. Co-Director Russell C. Kissick of Plano.  "Through the Interurban Railway Museum and our additional resources, we are able to provide a wealth of information about Plano's history and access to resources that will benefit these students as they work to complete this project."         

About The Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation, Inc:

The Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation, Inc., a Texas corporation 501 (c)(3) non-profit, is an organization dedicated to promote civic pride in the past, to increase preservation awareness through education and public outreach, and to provide financial assistance to protect and preserve our heritage resources for this and future generations. For more information, please visit www.planoconservancy.org or call 972-941-2117.

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