DEPEW, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Bills Stadium renderings have created a lot of excitement in Bills Mafia, who are anxiously waiting to watch a game from the new seats on Abbott Road. It even inspired a group of students in Depew to make their own version of the stadium.
“Look at where we are. Look at what I’m wearing. Look at what the rest of the group is wearing,” said eighth grader Anthony Lanzetta, dressed in Bills gear. “We’re all Bills fans here and it means a lot to us to do this.”
Students at Depew Middle School decided to gather in Aaron Nolan’s technology classroom during lunch and study hall periods. Instead of spending time with their friends in the cafeteria, about a dozen sixth, seventh and eighth graders used Minecraft to design three-dimensional renderings of the new Bills Stadium. They laid thousands of blocks by hand, all to get an inside look at the new building and to learn more about science, technology, engineering and math.
“The only thing we looked at was the first rendering of the Bills stadium,” Lucas Spruch, an eighth grader, added. “We’ve been doing this since the middle of last year. It’s brought joy to lunch and study halls. … I never imagined we would be able to complete that from what we started to what it is now. It is just unbelievable.”
The Minecraft renderings show the detailed exterior of the stadium, the concourse where students have their own, personalized concession stands and even the field, complete with yard lines and the Bills logo.
“We don’t do [traditional] work. We don’t have assignments. There are rules, but not normal classroom rules where you have to do stuff with paper. This is all computer and coding,” Hala Saleh, an eighth grader, added.
The students call this an opportunity to learn and work together as a team, similar to the Bills on the field. They learned coding and design, using their imagination for one of the biggest construction projects in Western New York.
“It’s really rewarding for me to see that especially during lunch when they could be hanging out with their friends in the cafeteria with everybody. To have them give up that time to hang out with me and other students to be doing something productive is really beneficial,” Nolan said.
Students worked on the project during lunches and study halls. They even used coding to get the roof and seat angles just right.
“You’re not going to have this opportunity for very long. It comes and it goes. You only have three years in the middle school and can choose how you spend the time here,” Lanzetta said.
Many of these students are now inspired to go into STEM fields and some even say they want to be architects and civil engineers when they get older. For their next projects, the team plans to replicate other stadiums, working as together to learn as much as they can.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.