The Power of Mentoring through Project Based Learning

With the help of local volunteer mentors, ACE is a program focused in exposing high school and middle school students to the fields of Architecture, Construction, and Engineering. Through project-based learning, the students learn “real-life” skills that professionals implement on a daily basis to bring big ideas to fruition. At the end of each year’s program, student work is evaluated by the mentors, and select students are rewarded scholarships based upon their efforts and excellence. More Information at:


Last year, we (mentors from BCWH, Gilbane Building Co., Kjellstrom & Lee Inc., Henrico Public Schools, and Gresham, Smith & Partners) worked with Highland Springs High School to design and develop a concept for an adaptive reuse restaurant on Broad Street in Richmond, Virginia. This year, we are working with the same high school to design and develop a pedestrian bridge that connects both sides of the James River in downtown Richmond, Virginia, adjacent to the existing Manchester Bridge – primarily used for vehicular transportation only.


We were able to bring Ted Elmore with the BridgePark RVA Project on board and during a recent field trip to Brown’s Island, Ted was able to share with students the BridgePark RVA site, as well as, with the help of a surveyor from Gilbane Building Co., expose them to the method and techniques used to measure and survey a site, as well as how to walk around and identify electrical manholes and equipment and document that information onto a site plan, sketched by hand.


Ted will remain involved throughout the course of this year’s efforts. He will serve as one of the mentors assisting with the final critiques of student work, and selection of those who will receive scholarships. Ted is extremely passionate about the Richmond Community, and enjoys engaging citizens and sharing how community design can reinvigorate and make our city better.

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