Engineering students “revolutionize” what a park means

Seniors Jessica Escobar and Amira Reeves work together on their final planning guide for installing wi-fi at the local Lakeside Park for everyone at the park to enjoy by Spring. (Cody Rogers photo)
Seniors Jessica Escobar and Amira Reeves work together on their final planning guide for installing wi-fi at the local Lakeside Park for everyone at the park to enjoy by Spring. (Cody Rogers photo)
Redefining what features a park provides, a group of Duncanville High School students are teaming up with Mountain View to install WiFi at a local park to embrace the “Age of Technology.”

“This project originally began at Duncanville High School where the previous engineering instructor, Mr. Burnett, wanted his students to develop a project to help the community,” project manager Jessica Escobar said. “[Students] had multiple ideas, and one of them was to add Wi-Fi to the local park.”

Seniors Jessica Escobar and Amira Reeves pictured with Eric Manuel their mentor and instructor. (Cody rogers photo)
Seniors Jessica Escobar and Amira Reeves pictured with Eric Manuel their mentor and instructor. (Cody rogers photo)

Cody_Rogers_DSC_2326The inspiration for the idea came from the fact that a group of engineering students who enjoyed doing parkour couldn’t find a suitable place to practice where they not only has space, but also the means to watch online videos. From this desire, the idea was formed and then taken to Mountain View College for their engineering students to complete along with Duncanville high school students Escobar and Amira Reeves.

“There were other ideas to make the park more convenient and would appeal to everyone’s needs and wants,” Escobar said. “We wanted to revolutionize what a ‘park’ means. Our goal is to make Lakeside, [a local Duncanville park], a park that attracts the whole community.”

To complete this plan, the students said they faced immediate setbacks including a reputation of being high school students and being unfamiliar with how to set up equipment to distribute Wi-Fi connection.

“We approached our vendors in a positive and formal manner in order for them to take us seriously,” Reeves said. “Our biggest challenge was to find a method to set up equipment to distribute Wi-Fi connection while remaining under the city’s budget and purchasing high quality equipment; most of our project was research.”

Working with the city and taking the proper procedures was also a difficulty according to Eric Manuel, lab instructor and facilitator for the project.

“Communication with government representatives were not always timely in their response,” Manuel said.

Despite these challenges, the group was able to complete their proposal and the city manager of Duncanville decided to implement the project in the Spring of 2014. Manuel attributes this success to the hard work and dedication she saw from the students.

“The students used the classroom concepts and employed them in a real scenario. By taking this project seriously, the team went further than expected,” Manuel said.

Now that the project has been approved, the students hope to have an impact in redefining what a park means along with bringing the community closer together.

“Our vision is to further expand our idea to other parks, and Lakeside is an ideal location to start this mass park revolution because several students from our community spend time at the park,” Escobar said. “We are aiming for communities to come together. By taking a step to improve our local park, we are also aiming to encourage other to invest their time to improve the community. We hope Duncanville, and more cities, will start taking on more projects such as this one.”