Omaha North High School students get real-world experience designing community projects

Omaha, NE – A group of Omaha North High School students have designed a project that, if built, would become a transitional living center for people with disabilities.

The 15-students are in honors engineering classes at North High. They presented their design Friday for a facility called the Omaha Center for Independence. It would be located in north Omaha and provide transitional housing for paraplegic and quadriplegic individuals.

Lee Kallstrom is an engineering technology teacher at North High School. He says some student-designed projects have become part of the community. For example, the students did a project at one time for a pedestrian bridge across the Missouri River. That project eventually became the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge.

The Omaha Center for Independence is one of six projects North High's engineering students are working on. Another involves the revitalization of a bicycle shop in midtown Omaha.

After a project is complete, students must write a paper, give a presentation and answer questions about the project. Kallstrom says those skills better prepare students for college.