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Young engineers program headed to Boise

Development of the Treasure Valley – its transportation systems, power grids, commercial and residential areas – for the next 145 years will be left to the imagination of teen-agers, beginning next year.

Budding engineers will use a computer simulation game SimCity to design the Treasure Valley of 2150 as part of the National Engineer’s Week Future City competition that will be staged in Boise for the first time in 2005.

Boise will be named a regional host site for the competition at a Monday news conference on the Boise State University campus. The news conference is scheduled for 4 p.m. in Room 110 of the Engineering Technology Building.

The annual competition brings together aspiring engineers who are in the seventh or eighth grade. Their task is to design a city using the SimCity software, one year at a time, culminating with a “Future City” of 2150.

“During the preparation process, the students work with an engineer mentor that helps guide the team,” according to the Idaho Society of Professional Engineers. “After they design the city, the students make a scale model of part of the city, prepare a 500-word essay, and give an oral presentation at the competition.

“The competition is an educational outreach program that has components relating to numerous curriculum requirements so teachers can incorporate this fun learning activity into their classroom,” according to the announcement.

Idaho students who participated in the past (most recently last month) had to travel to Seattle. Next fall, students will begin preparations for the Boise regional competition. If 25 schools participate at the regional event, the regional winner will advance to the national competition in Washington, D.C. Travel expenses are covered for the winning school.

Volunteers, most of whom are engineers, host the nonprofit event. The educational activity is funded by individual and corporate contributions and support from several local engineering professional societies.

Sponsors for the Idaho Future City competition are: the Idaho Society of Professional Engineers, the Southern Idaho Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Boise State College of Engineering, the Eastern Idaho Council of Engineering Societies, and the Boise Section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

For more information on the Future City competition check out the national
web site: <> To find out about the Idaho competition, check the web site at: <> .

The Foothills School of Arts and Sciences team that competed in the Seattle regional Future City competition this year will show the scale model of its city at Monday’s press conference.