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AHS Students Sweep Housing Competition

AHS Winners

Pictured left to right: Curtis Bragg, Jaylin Strub, and

Hailee Christensen


ANKENY, Iowa (April 25, 2019) – Ankeny High School students sweep the 2019 Can I Be Your Neighbor Design Challenge which wrapped up the Polk County Housing Trust Fund’s seventh annual Affordable Housing Week. 


Junior Jaylin Strub’s affordable home design took top honors, winning a $2,000 scholarship from the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines and the Polk County Housing Trust Fund.  The runners up are also from Ankeny High School.  Junior Hailee Christensen was awarded $500 from HOME Inc. and senior Curtis Bragg received $500 provided by the Polk County Housing Trust Fund.


Forty-three students from central Iowa high schools were given the profile of a fictional family who would live in the home, the location of a vacant in-fill lot in Des Moines and parameters, such as maximum square footage and cost limitations. The competition, managed by ASK Studio, a Des Moines architectural firm, included classroom visits by architects and homebuilder professionals to provide feedback to the students on their preliminary designs.

Five designs were selected for the competition at Grand View University.  Each finalist had up to five minutes to present their design, followed by a question and answer session with a panel of judges that included Lauren Johnson, Polk County Housing Trust Fund; Pam Carmichael, HOME Inc.; Brandon Patterson, Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines;  Dan Knoup, Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines; and Ryan Carter, ASK Studio. The judges scored the presentations and designs based on sensitivity to the needs of the family, ingenuity of space utilization, budget realism, flexibility for changing needs of the family and image of the home.


About Affordable Housing Week

In its 7th year, Affordable Housing Week is an annual initiative spearheaded by the Polk County Housing Trust Fund to provide opportunities to learn more about the critical role of safe, stable and affordable housing in creating a healthy and economically vibrant community for everyone. The activities and events were made possible with the support of ASK Studio, Capital Crossroads, Franklin Junior High, Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines, HOME, Inc., OpportUNITY, The Director’s Council, and United Way of Central Iowa.