Palm Coast - The City of Palm Coast is calling on Flagler Palm Coast High School students to help design the future of Town Center, the area that will be the City's downtown. Students in the 'i3 New Tech Academy' will work in teams with community experts to learn about Town Center and its Innovation District to design concepts and spaces, experience unique field trips and possibly enjoy mystery prizes as part of this educational partnership. Today, City Manager Matthew Morton highlighted the program at the City of Palm Coast and Flagler Schools joint annual luncheon.

"This is a one-of-a-kind experience for us to engage with the talented youth of our community to shape our future together," said City Manager Matthew Morton. "Town Center is an important project and happens to be in the backyard of their school. Their ideas will plug directly into the mission to develop this core area into the citizen-centric, smart city that will carry Palm Coast into the next generation."

In the early 2000s, Town Center was identified to be the perfect spot for Palm Coast's downtown with shopping, homes and lifestyle experiences. But like many communities, urban progress came to a halt during the heart of the recession. Fast-forward ten years later, and the area had only become 17% developed with much of the area primed for growth. With a new vision for Town Center and new leadership, the City plans to cluster research institutions, high-tech employers, clean technology, creative startups, amenity-rich residential areas and well-designed indoor and outdoor spaces. The program challenges students to create innovative design solutions based on their own experiences as they are ultimately the end-users of the space.

"We're very excited to partner in on this opportunity." said Walker Douglas of Douglas Property and Development, Inc. "With the upcoming development in Town Center, a project of this caliber takes innovation to the next level with students at the center."

The class will begin Aug. 14 and end on Dec. 16 and there are about 25 students enrolled. Coursework is completed on a schedule and will involve projects timed to meet a certain set of milestones.

"i3 is a great program that allows students to really work with their hands and their minds and to come up with ideas and follow through with them," said Flagler Schools Superintendent James Tager. He went on to say, "Working with the City collaboratively in a sandbox to be able to come up with a vision where kids can have a voice along with the City is empowering for the entire community, not just the kids."

For more information on the i3 New Tech Academy, visit: https://fpcbulldogs.com/about_us/flagship_program/i3_academy