4 SAIT graduates up for prestigious Capstone award

SAIT engineering design graduate Kyle Shave and three classmates combined a committment to sustainability with a passion for putting to create a new kind of golf course design that's landed the four of them on the short list for a prestigious provincial award.

For an end of the year project, Shave and three of his classmates David Weisbrot, Jiayu Wang and Craig Nelson designed an environmentall- friendly golf course that would be built in the heart of Kananaskis Country.

With a working name of the National Golf and Country Club at Royale Springs, Shave and his classmates decided to focus on water usage and reclamation of water, two things golf courses are frequently criticized for misusing.

"We started with selecting desirable topography in order to have natural drainage pools," Shave said. 

"Then we sloped the course to drain the water in those pools on top of building a root zone that naturally in the dry heat of the summer here will keep water in and hold water attention.  And then in the rainier seasons we'll move water away from the course to retain playing."

HONOURED TO BE FINALISTS

The site, off Highway 1A near the Francis Resource Recovery Centre, was strategically chosen for its desirable terrain and naturally existing drainage basins.

The course would also use solar power to change gas-powered carts and maintenance equipment into electrically-powered vehicles.

The foursome did such a good job on the project the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET) recognized it as one of seven finalists for the Capstone project of the year award. 

Shave said it's quite an honour.

"We're really proud to be here," he said.  "At the start where we were thinking of designing a mini- putt course, we never thought that this is how it would turn out and we're absolutely thrilled to be here."

HISTORY OF THE AWARD

Being a finalist for this provincial award is very prestigious.  Projects from colleges in Alberta are submitted and professors whittle them down.  Only the top seven this year got the nod for the Capstone project of the year.

C.E.O. of ASET Barry Cavanaugh said the award was a great way to recognize outstanding work by students.

"Back in 2017, we sort of became aware of the quality of these Capstone projects that were being performed at NAIT and SAIT and the colleges," Cavanaugh said.

"What they represent really is teams of students in the final year of the engineering technology programs have to do a project that reflects what they've learned and shows a little ingenuity based on their knowledge.  

"So we saw those and were kind of taken aback by it and thought this needs to be recognized and we put the Capstone awards came into existence."

Cavanaugh said picking a winner isn't easy.

"I'm blown away by what I see.  It's almost impossible to say one is a winner and to my view when you get into that final seven or eight, you're a winner already."

BUILDING ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY COURSE WOULD BE A DREAM COME TRUE

Shave said winning the award would mean everything to him and the rest of the team.  

"To actually get to build the course, that would be a dream come true," he said. "Yes or one like it.  We would definitely love to get into the business."

"We definitely need funding and interested parties but we think anything is possible."

The Capstone project of the year award will be handed out in the next month.