Students Arely Lopez, Mirella Garcia and Tanner Chee present projects to the community. (Lukas Eggen photos)

Students Arely Lopez, Mirella Garcia and Tanner Chee present projects to the community. (Lukas Eggen photos)

By Lukas Eggen
Ely Times Staff Writer

A group of architecture students from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas presented their design plans for various projects around White Pine County last Friday.

The students presented a variety of projects, including the White Pine County Golf Course, a beer garden at Shooters, the Renaissance Village, the Nevada Northern Railway, the Ely War Memorial and more.
Members from the community attended the presentations.

“We really let them run with their own ideas on this,” Assistant Professor Jonathon Anderson said. “Our guidance was on the communication on the project to the community. This was largely a student-run project, which is actually incredible to see all of this.”

Each student took the lead on a project and worked with classmates to design and present their projects. For many students, it was their first experience working on a project that could affect a community and community members shared their feedback, both positive and negative, with the students.

“It’s a huge accomplishment,” student Jamie Mitchell said. “We were so anxious to show everyone what we were doing and to get that feedback. It’s great to see and now we can go back to the drawing board and work on some things.”

The process was a long one for students to get to this point. The students visited the area earlier this year, taking notes and photos of the different project sites.

After, the students returned to Las Vegas, where they began work on ideation, materials and designs for the various projects. As the students progressed, working primarily off of notes, memories and photos proved to be a challenge for the class.

“We loved coming up here so much, but when we were in Vegas, all we had to remember were pictures,” student Tanner Chee said. “We remembered being here. But I could just only imagine what would have happened if we could be here the whole time.”

Since returning from Ely, there have been numerous long nights, disagreements and discussions about the projects, students said. But in the end, they came together and presented projects to the community that their professors said they should be proud of.

“For me, it’s the point that you hold your breath and wait for all semester,” Professor Danny Ortega said. “The rest of the semester is mostly back and forth. We gave them feedback, sometimes criticism, sometimes harsh criticism and then they make seemingly slow progress because we see the projects almost every day. It’s really good to see the community give their feedback. It’s easy to stand back and say they’ve really completed a lot.”

For the students, their work on these projects isn’t finished. The students will take the feedback they received during the presentations and incorporate them in time for a final presentation in Las Vegas in December.

And while students said they learned a lot from getting hands on experience during this project, visiting White Pine County also exposed the students to a mentality that they said they weren’t familiar with.

“The mentality of the community is a lot different here,” student Arely Lopez said. “It’s a lot nicer here, actually. Everyone cares so much about these projects and the community. It was a positive culture shock.”

As UNLV’s students return to Las Vegas with community feedback in hand, for their professors, last Friday marked a big moment in their development as designers and showed just how far they have come since arriving at UNLV.

“It’s why I’m a professor,” Anderson said. “I believe in the students. I believe in future generations and I believe in what design can do. I think that’s apparent in the outcome of these projects.”