SAN ANTONIO -

Architecture students at the University of Texas at San Antonio we able to gain real-world experience by coming up for a design for a possible building on the near west side.

Avance -- an organization dedicated to helping families in at-risk communities -- is considering expanding their campus by constructing a national training institute.

Rather than go to an architectural firm, they enlisted the help of the third-year architecture students at UTSA.

While none of the designs they came up with will actually be implemented, the ideas they came up with could be incorporated into any final design.

"We're not providing architectural services. We're giving you an array of ideas (or) possibilities of what the building might become," said UTSA Senior Architecture Lecturer John Hertz.

The students don't get the satisfaction of seeing their buildings built, but they do gain valuable experience.

"This is as close as we can come, in academia, to being an architect. So that, to me, is really important, " Hertz said.

"You also get experience like dealing with clients and stuff and so you kind of get this experience of what being an architect might actually be like," said architecture student James Hammons.

That experience of client-feedback is appreciated.

"It's really nice to see their points and how they view (the design). It's nice to see their reactions -- especially when they like it," said architecture student Amanda Bugyi.

These students aren't the only ones to get something out of this project. Avance is going to take these plans and see what they can turn them into.

"We have something now tangible and concrete to demonstrate (to possible donors) what could be (of the site)," said Avance President and CEO Rick Noreiga.

For a list of recent stories John Honore has done, click here.