A plan to build a memorial park around a World War II torpedo in Somers Point is getting some design assistance from Atlantic County Institute of Technology students. Sophomores in Drew Holmes' Computer Aided Drafting and Design, or CADD, class presented proposals for the memorial to Somers Point Mayor Jack Glasser and three members of the Egg Harbor Township Base United States Submarine Veterans group Tuesday in a project to give students real-world applications for their skills.

Students were given the parameters for the memorial, to be located across from the VFW Post and adjacent to Bethel Road and the bike path. The design had to use the restored torpedo as its centerpiece, and incorporate sponsored brick pavers the group is selling to raise money for the project.

They were not given a specific budget, but were made aware that the final design would depend on the amount of money available to pay for it.

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"I really didn't know what to expect," said Tom Carty, of Mays Landing, who joined Glasser, Paul Bishop, of Absecon, and Tom Innocente, of Somers Point, in reviewing the students' designs. "But you listened to us, and showed real respect for the project."

Students worked mostly in pairs and presented a variety of designs, ranging from simple square layouts to more complex curved designs.

Darwin Robleto and Tariq Pagan did a wave design and added some turf to the concrete. Jordan Reahm, Courtney Schlect and Beverly Magar added planters, but noted they would get something low maintenance.

"We wanted to make it a little more elegant," Schlect said after her presentation.

"And we wanted it to look alive," Magar added.

Holmes said students had to learn about handicapped accessibility laws, different types of brick patterns and the potential cost of adding fancier design elements. Some students added benches but noted they could be optional.

"If you have a lot of curves and cuts, the cost goes up," Holmes said. "So a simple design is something to consider."

Students said after the presentations that it was a challenge to try to do something that looked impressive but might have to be done on a tight budget.

"We wanted to meet expectations, but not get too complicated and do too much," Xavier Smith said.

Nathaniel Santiago said he and partner Luis Hernandez kept their design simple, but interesting.

"If you make it too complicated, it would take too long and be too hard to build," he said. "And then if they don't sell enough bricks they can't do it."

Marcus Watson said it was a challenge to work within the limited space, and Brett Kabala added figuring out exactly how to incorporate the sponsored bricks to make sure people could read them.

Antonio Leone said he would have liked to add some design outside the concrete circle, and Innocente said that might be "part two" of the memorial.

All four men noted the professionalism of the presentations and how many of the students had dressed up for the event, some boys even wearing ties. Carty told them they can never go wrong dressing for success and making a good first impression. The students have also been invited to present their ideas to the Somers Point City Council later this month.

Innocente said they have already spent about $10,000 restoring the torpedo and doing the concrete work at the site. The final design they choose for the memorial may depend on how much more money they can raise through donations and the sale of engraved sponsor bricks at $50 each. But, he said, no matter what the final design is, each student should know that they had a role in its development.

"This is going to be around for 50 or 100 years," Innocente told the class. "You can bring your kids and grandkids there and say, 'I was part of that.'"

Contact Diane D'Amico:



How you can help

Anyone interested in

making a donation toward the project or purchasing

a brick can call Tom Innocente at 609 927-4358.

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