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Norwin High School Wins 2024 ‘Innovations Challenge’

May 09, 2024 12:00 PM
By: Zachary Appleby

​A team of students from Norwin High School in Irwin, Westmoreland County, has been selected as the statewide winner for the 2024 Innovations Challenge. Mentored by Thomas Harskowitch, a teacher at Norwin High School, team members included Troy Horvath and Noah Wilson.

For this year's challenge, students were asked to develop a plan for the replacement of an aging multi-lane roadway to reconnect previously separated neighborhoods and incorporate community needs, such as accommodating bicycle and pedestrian traffic, allowing for new business development and ensuring the smooth flow of traffic.

The team's proposed solution to this year's challenge included establishing a green pathway alongside the roadway to provide communal space, diverse vegetation, stormwater management and enhanced air quality. The team's plan also includes mixed-use zoning surrounding the project and a focus on connecting the community via pedestrian and bike paths.MicrosoftTeams-image (119).png

“As roadways across Pennsylvania come to an end of their useful lifecycle, how we choose to design and reutilize those spaces will be crucial to ensuring equitable and sustainable infrastructure for generations to come," said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. “I am not only impressed but inspired by the next generation of problem solvers as they approach the issues we face today with the ingenuity and thoughtfulness needed for a better tomorrow. I'm excited to see what lies ahead for these students."   

Eight regional winners were selected earlier this year and invited to present their solutions to the PennDOT secretary and a panel of judges in Harrisburg to determine the statewide winner. For this year's challenge, the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC) and the American Council of Engineering Companies of PA (ACEC/PA) are providing a combined total award of $4,000 to the statewide winning team.​

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