Marketing students in Indian Prairie Unit District 204 have weighed in on what type of businesses they'd like to see in the Naperville Crossings development at Route 59 and 95th Street.
Shops that support a healthy lifestyle and companies that contribute to the community, specifically to high schools, are on the list created by one school's winning team in the project called Mission 60564.
The marketing "mission" began last fall as a collaboration between the district, the Indian Prairie Educational Foundation, the city of Naperville and the Naperville Development Partnership to brainstorm ideas to fill vacancies at Naperville Crossings.
The area has been envisioned as a possible "second downtown" for Naperville, but city officials have said such vibrancy has not quite materialized.
"This project truly gives our students a voice in the formation of the retail and entertainment establishments in their own backyard," said Jill Hlavacek, District 204's director of encore curriculum.
About 250 students working in teams of five created marketing plans for the development, and winners from the district's three high schools have been chosen.
Senior Christina Hui's winning team from Neuqua Valley High School is finalizing its marketing plan before Feb. 24 in hopes of beating teams from Metea and Waubonsie valley high schools and earning the chance to present with the Naperville Development Partnership at a professional trade show.
"We have an overall theme of a healthy and active lifestyle," Hui said, along with several proposed businesses that give back to the community, specifically to high schools.
Details of the proposal remain top secret, but Hui said working on it has been relevant experience before she plans to study marketing at the University of Iowa next year.
"It's been really fun working with a team and actually contacting businesses and getting real-world applications," Hui said.
Hlavacek said teachers' commitment to this form of experiential learning helped students as they conducted market research, analyzed data and prepared plans that fit within the zoning and building requirements for the development on the city's southwest side.
"This project has been a positive and rigorous experience for our students," Hlavacek said.
The winning team will be announced at the March 3 Naperville City Council meeting.