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‘Mazing’ help for charter school neighbor, ‘most fun ever’ for kids

A teacher FIT Academy Charter School in the heart of Apple Valley needed some professional expertise for a 7th-grade design and modeling class, and she didn’t need to go far.

Across the parking lot from the fitness oriented K-8 school, CNH Architects promptly answered the call and jumped in.

Teacher Susan Nelson needed advice as the class was to plan, design and construct a large cardboard maze for the school’s fall festival, explained CNH Architectural Designer Kelly Hanson. “I helped to guide them progressively, from initial design and planning, all the way to final construction and assembly,” she said.

Architectural Designer Kelly Hanson from CNH Architects, left, and teacher Susan Nelson with FIT Academy Charter School. Photo by Zach Rivera with FIT Academy.
Architectural Designer Kelly Hanson from CNH Architects, left, and teacher Susan Nelson with FIT Academy Charter School. Photo by Zach Rivera with FIT Academy.

Hanson met with the class a half dozen times, and, working with students and parent volunteers, the group turned 600 boxes and 20 rolls of tape into a 20-by-40-foot maze with 6-foot walls. She said the completed project was incredibly rewarding.

“Not only did the kids love navigating through the maze during the festival, but the actual process itself was also a wonderful opportunity for the 7th-graders to learn about the planning and teamwork that goes into creating habitable spaces,” Hanson said.

More than a few times, Hanson said students approached her during the construction and said the project was the most fun they had ever had at school.

“It was those times that I couldn’t have felt more proud to be a part of the experience with them,” she said. After the maze was disassembled, all of the cardboard boxes were donated to be recycled or repurposed.

The timeline was four weeks, and all came together on schedule.

Photo by Zach Rivera with FIT Academy.
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