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AHS Student Wins Affordable Housing Design Challenge

ANKENY, Iowa (April 11, 2017) - Ankeny High School junior Austin Rognes was awarded first place, juniors Sydney Christman and Morgan Bennett were both named runners up in the 2017 "Can I Be Your Neighbor" Design Challenge for Affordable Housing on April 8 at the Pappajohn Center in Des Moines.  Although the competition is in its fifth year, this is the first time the winning plan will actually be built.
Five projects, from more than 50 entries, were selected to move to the final round of competition in which students presented their plans to a panel of judges.  Four of the five finalists are Ankeny High School students.  Rognes was awarded a $2,000 scholarship from the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines for his design.  Christman was awarded a $500 scholarship from the Polk County Housing Trust Fund.  Bennett was awarded a $500 scholarship from ASK Studio.  Senior Zack Gavin was also a finalist in the competition.  The judges consisted of Dan Knoup, Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines; Bobbi Jo Duneman, ASK Studio; Pam Carmichael, @HOME Inc.; and Sandy Rouse, resident of an affordable home by Anawim Housing.
"It is an honor to work with such dedicated students, even those who do not make the finals work hard every day,"  said Mark Schmidt, CAD/Architecture/Engineering teacher.

Students were given a biography of who would be living in the home, where the vacant lot is located, maximum square footage and limitations on costs. Within these parameters, the students were asked to design the most appropriate affordable home for the family.
The design challenge is part of the annual Affordable Housing Week, spearheaded by the Polk County Housing Trust Fund.  Affordable Housing Week activities are designed to raise community awareness of the benefits that safe, stable and affordable housing brings to our community.

About Polk County Housing Trust Fund

The Polk County Housing Trust Fund is a comprehensive planning, advocacy, and funding organization for Affordable Housing in Polk County Iowa. It is responsible for crafting the community strategic plan for affordable housing and leading its implementation through the Housing Tomorrow program, the region’s first comprehensive plan for housing, which is part of the larger community sustainability initiative, The Tomorrow Plan

To learn more, please visit and the Housing Trust Fund’s social media channels of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.