Students in STC's Computer Aided Drafting and Design (CADD) Club are joining forces with local nonprofit organization Los Caminos del Rio to make the region a greener and more eco-friendly destination.

The club will use their skills to map out the Rio Grande's historic irrigation and drainage canals to develop design proposals for a Valley-wide hike and bike trail network that will make the area a more environmentally friendly place for recreational sport lovers.

As part of the project, STC's CADD Club will create preliminary 3-D over and underpass designs for canal trails in the Pharr-McAllen-Edinburg area. The City of Pharr, the City of Edinburg, the City of McAllen, Dannanenbaum Engineering and the Boltinghouse & Simpson Architect Firm are also collaborating on the project.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for students in the CADD Program to get hands-on experience on a large-scale green project that will benefit the people of the area," said STC CADD Program Chair Reynaldo Sánchez. "Because some of these irrigation canals cross through busy intersections, we're hoping to make the trails safer and more hike- and bike-friendly. The club members are honored to work with Los Caminos del Rio to help restore our local outdoor spaces and add to the quality of life in the Valley."

Assistance in planning the bicycle trail comes from the National Park Service, which is providing Los Caminos del Rio with a team of recreational planners to work with area municipalities and drainage and irrigation districts, as well as private property owners, to get the project off the ground.

Executive Director Eric Ellman says that the project addresses multiple Valley needs for alternative transportation to relieve congestion, infrastructure to promote physical activity, as well as making new, creative use of historic irrigation and drainage canals that represent our lost green space. Ellman says that TxDOT's district engineer Mario Jorge, as well as the City Managers of both Pharr and McAllen, have indicated that they intend to submit the completed designs for

Economic Stimulus Package Funding.

"We wanted to work with groups whose goals are aligned with ours, and the members of STC's CADD Club are as committed as we are to creating sustainability-progressive projects that will have a positive environmental impact on our cities," said Ellman.

STC's CADD Program prepares students for employment as entry-level CADD technicians. A student may choose to pursue a certificate and/or associate's degree in the fields of Architectural Drafting, Civil Drafting, Geographic Information Systems or Digital Imaging.

For more information about the CADD Program, visit or call 956-872-6103.