MOUNT VERNON — The future city of Willquest was created by the eighth-grade students at St. Vincent de Paul School. The team competed at the 2012 Future City competition at Columbus State Community College. The city planners, Cara Mazzei, mayor of Willquest; Taylor Pfeifer, city engineer; Aneri Patel, president of the Chamber of Commerce; along with alternate team member Brianna Smith, worked day and night to complete the city. They were mentored by Rolls-Royce senior facility engineer Joe Tapocsi and eighth-grade science teacher Terra Dilley.
They won numerous awards at the competition, such as first place in People’s Choice, first place for Best Recreation, first place for Best Use of Ceramics and honorable mention for Best Moving Part.
The team first created a virtual city on a computer simulation, Sim City 4, then built a working model using a scale of 1/16-inch to one foot. In the model, they represented three different aspects in their city: Residential, commercial and industrial areas, along with numerous recreational and educational activities.
Willquest is dedicated to their classmate, Will Smith, who was involved in a serious automobile accident over the summer which resulted in major trauma to his brain. Therefore, the focus of the city is pediatric brain injuries. In their city is a designated strip of buildings especially for rehabilitation; these buildings include speech, physical, music, occupational, aquatic and equestrian therapies. There is an underground area with a mall and a section for utilities. They are located on the southwest coast of Australia, and right off the coast are underwater apartments where visitors stay the night and because of the clear glass dome, it feels as though one is sleeping with the fish.
Another part of the competition was writing an essay. The topic was Alternate Energy Sources. Pfeifer wrote the top essay in her class. She chose the energy source of co-firing biomass with coal. The biomass was the perennial crop switch grass. Switch grass was a good fit for the conditions of the area. Co-firing the biomass with coal reduces the amount of sulfur emitted into the air and also preserves natural resources because it is a renewable material. In addition to that energy source, there are solar panels on rooftops, windmills out in the fields, underwater turbines, and also utilizing methane gas from the water treatment plant gives this city a variety of energy options.
Mayor Mazzei said that the best part of designing the city was being able to imagine concepts and believe they can really come true. City Engineer Pfeifer says that the hardest part of the future city model was planning where all the buildings would be placed without it getting too crowded. Overall, the team members said they gained a greater understanding of how math, science and engineering impact each part of individual lives.