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Bob Jones senior Ben Kendall devises cost-saving drainage plan for city

MADISON – Ben Kendall has proven himself a city ombudsman … quite an accomplishment for a high school senior.

Ben Kendall is a senior at Bob Jones High School. (CONTRIBUTED)
Ben Kendall is a senior at Bob Jones High School. (CONTRIBUTED)

This semester, the Bob Jones senior is interning with the City of Madison engineering department. “Ben designed a drainage alternative plan, which will save approximately $80,000 tax dollars, if approved by the city,” Jessye Gaines said. Gaines teaches in the Engineering for Tomorrow Academy.

“Ben worked with minimal direction and self-taught himself to use software for analysis,” Gaines said.

City engineer Gary Chynoweth contacted Gaines about any students interested in environmental work. “I quickly raised my hand,” Kendall said.

Kendall’s detention pond at the Mose Chapel Road park will avoid costly pipe and prevent flooding at the intersection of two ditches. Water will funnel through an 18-inch pipe into a ditch at a controllable rate. The pond’s approximate measurements are 240 by 100 feet and 7 feet deep. Other sections of the road project can use excavated earth.

“Ben has demonstrated a penchant for using engineering tools and conducting a logical analysis that required independent thinking,” District 4 Councilman Mike Potter said. A qualified observer, Potter worked 40-plus years as a system engineer.

The completed project will increase property values while decreasing property damage for citizens, giving “a higher quality of life that doesn’t have a dollar value,” Potter said. In addition, city workers will have less maintenance.

Ben Kendall, center, explains his engineering design to city councilman Mike Potter and superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler. (CONTRIBUTED)
Ben Kendall, center, explains his engineering design to city councilman Mike Potter and superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler. (CONTRIBUTED)

Ben’s parents are Paul and Emily O’Neal Kendall. His mother works for NASA, and his father retired from the military and works on Redstone Arsenal. In 2000, the Kendalls moved from Germany to Madison.

Ben’s accomplishment is “truly a reflection on the awesome job of Madison City Schools,” Emily Kendall said. “I’m so grateful for this community’s wonderful education and spirit.”

Kendall will enter Auburn University and study biosystems engineering, which integrates biological, environmental and agricultural sciences.

“It’s amazing what students can do when they’re properly trained and prepared, then encouraged and trusted,” Gaines said. “I’m very proud to live in a city which does both.”

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