In 2017, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) vested $3 million from Public Works funds to reposition part of the Treasure Valley Community College (TVCC), located in Ontario, Oregon. The Public Works program, which is intended to upgrade the physical infrastructure of communities and businesses, and in this instance helped TVCC renovate and revitalize the Career & Technical Education (CTE) Center. Through the efforts of Montana-based architecture firm Cushing Terrell, the existing facilities were expanded to nearly 30,000 square feet and created educational opportunities to more than 300 students annually.
“They were eager to make a huge investment in their CTA program and facilities, and that got our team excited,” said Corey Johnson, associate principal and education design studio director at Cushing Terrell, in an email to The Registry. “We knew that transforming and renewing their 50-year old facility was going to be a challenge, but we were ready to make it happen.”
Located at 650 College Boulevard, TVCC has been serving students since 1962 and offers an array of degrees, programs and certifications through CTE. The original CTE shop facilities encompassed 15,000 square feet on campus, and with the renovation, now boasts approximately 27,000 square feet of space. Cushing Terrell partnered with administration, staff, students and community stakeholders to create the vision for the new and renovated facilities through a collaborative design process, and construction broke ground in January 2020.
“Some of the main ideas that drove and inspired the design were: (a) Social places for students and faculty to informally interact (b) Ultimate flexibility and adaptability in physical spaces for the innovations of today and tomorrow (c) A center that encourages, welcomes and provides spaces for industry partners (d) All classrooms, labs and shops foster and enable hands-on learning (e) The Center highlights and exposes the CTE learning that takes place within its walls (f) A seamless connection between indoor and outdoor environments, spilling learning opportunities out into the beautiful surrounding campus,” Johnson said.
Since one of the primary goals of the renovation was to modernize the existing facilities, the team focused on blending the older architecture with the new through the project design. According to Johnson, the existing facilities featured precast concrete walls and roof structures, which made the ideal home for flexible fabrication and welding shops. The renovation intersects the existing structure and creates north and south makerspace courtyards. A long lobby with entrances at both ends incorporates new seating, high-top tables and whiteboards for collaborative work and educational opportunities. These spaces for students and faculty act as an acoustic buffer to the classroom and labs. The design team also cloaked the existing structure with perforated, prefinished metal panels to match the renovated addition.
“The existing center was completely gutted down to its basic structure to make way for new innovative systems, equipment, accessibility and important code and safety upgrades,” Johnson said.
Additional renovations to the existing structure include large overhead door openings which are cut into the outside, center shear walls to allow access for larger equipment and supplies and accessible restrooms and changing areas. Renovations also include a new culinary kitchen lab, which supports the agricultural science program. The lab can either be utilized for the agriculture and animal sciences meat programs and function as two separate labs, or can serve as one large open industry partner space with open access to the exterior courtyard and kitchen for event catering.
“The culinary kitchen lab embodies the guiding principle of flexible and adaptable space,” Johnson said.
A 28kW solar array has also been incorporated into the new design and is tied into the power distribution system to generate renewable energy for the facility. The project’s lead electrical engineer, Tyler Victorino, is a solar power specialist, designer and installer, and was a key player in making the solar array a part of the design.
“[Tyler] drove the inspiration and details to design the new center’s roof to support the panel load, optimal orientation [and] sustainable energy goals, and making the entire array accessible for learning opportunities,” Johnson said.
The team’s favorite amenity is the central common area, which allows students and faculty to come together and features natural exterior light to illuminate the common spaces.
“The central linear commons area bridges the primary campus and community entries [and] provides multiple access to comfortable student spaces, study spaces, lounge, conference rooms and outdoor courtyards,” Johnson said. “Clerestory windows bask this space with natural daylight.”
Including the $3 million provision from EDA, which is the first time TVCC has received such a grant, the project also received $2.83 million in matching funds from the State of Oregon, as well as additional funding from private and public resources. While every project comes with its own design and budgetary challenges, the team took a multi-phased approach to the funded project so they could meet TVCC’s goals for the new CTE Center.
“There were more wants and needs than the project budget could support, so implementing a multi-phases master plan approach allowed for the center to be expanded and enhanced over time,” Johnson said.
TVCC also received $100,000 from the Kansas City-based Sunderland Foundation, which will be allocated to the CTE Center and help equip the facilities with new technology to aid in-person and virtual educational opportunities.
The new CTE Center was completed for its grand opening in spring 2021. When reflecting on the project, the design team emphasizes the collaborative process that was followed to bring the project to fruition.
“The design was truly a culmination of faculty, staff, student and industry partner input and ideas,” Johnson said. “There were many design sessions that included multiple stakeholders sketching together and positioning model pieces around to arrive at the preferred final layout. The design process itself was fun, inclusive, collaborative, relationship strengthening and produced a truly wonderful, innovative, successful Career & Technical Education Center.”