The ACE Mentor program at Orange Park High is an organization for students interested in architecture, construction, design and engineering. Experts and professionals in these fields from the local community mentor students and give them hands-on "real world" experiences.     

      One such experience is accomplished through the Design Competition Awards Program. Sponsored by the Construction Industry Round Table (CIRT), a national association, the 2014 challenge for the OP organization is to design the library "of the future."  Using the Orange Park Public Library as the rehab project, students have been actively meeting with engineers, architects and designers and creating a blueprint for an updated, people friendly, technologically advanced library that serves the citizens of Clay County.       

      Students and mentors visited the Orange Park Public library and the Jacksonville Public Library to study the engineering, architecture and technology of each. At the Jacksonville Library, they spoke with library managers who discussed the challenges of keeping the libraries relevant to all ages and walks of life and also the problems of keeping up with emerging technologies.    

      Orange Park High students will submit their design plans and presentations to the CIRT national office in Washington, DC in March. Judges for the competition are CEOs and presidents of some of the leading design and construction firms in the United States.  Finalists will be flown to DC to present to the CIRT Panel of Judges in May.                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                          --Patrick Crawford