Camden, NJ—Mastery Cramer Hill Elementary School was recently recognized for its state-of-the-art campus.

ACE [Architecture. Construction. Engineering.] Mentor Program of Eastern Pennsylvania recently awarded the elementary school its 2018 Project of the Year.

Mastery Cramer Hill Elementary School, located at 1001 N. 17th St., opened in August 2017 and features a library and a digital resource center, large bright windows and nearly 3,000 square feet of vegetated roof to reduce rainwater runoff and provide a place for students to touch, feel and absorb science and other classroom lessons. The school serves almost 750 students in grades kindergarten through eight.

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"Mastery Cramer Hill Elementary is the first school we have ever built from the ground up, and to have it awarded the ACE Project of the Year is incredible," said Mastery Charter Schools Chief Operations Officer Joseph Ferguson. "We were very intentional with the design of this school and recognized from the beginning that it was not about us. It's about our students, our families and the Camden community. In fact, many of them signed their name on a steel beam that helps the structure stand. So this award is as much theirs as it is ours."

The building also has several rooms available for use to Camden residents, including its library.

"We try to recognize a build project that exemplifies ACE, to highlight some of our peers and equals within the industry," said Tiffany Millner, affiliate director of the ACE Mentor Program of Eastern Pennsylvania.

In addition to Mastery Charter Schools receiving recognition for its new building project, Millner said that the charter network was also recognized, in part, for its partnership with ACE.

"We were actually thinking about honoring Mastery Charter as our Community Leader. We have been working with them for years in Philadelphia on their various campuses, and they’re really huge supporters of us in terms of school championship for the program," said Millner.

The program Millner referred to is its Mentor Program, which gives students from local high schools an opportunity to learn more about potential careers in architecture, engineering and construction.

"Our program is really geared toward minority students, people of color, all the under-represented parties in the design and construction industry," said Millner, who added the afterschool program allows for students to meet with volunteer mentors from the construction, architect, design and engineering industries.

Millner said that ACE has already developed its mentor base in the Camden-area, as it plans to launch a Mentor Program at Mastery High School of Camden in the fall.

The mission of the ACE is to engage, excite and enlighten high school students to pursue careers in architecture, engineering and construction. More than 60 Mastery students across six campuses are currently in the ACE Mentorship Program.