Core Design Team
Firm: NAC Architecture
Electrical Engineering: NAC Engineering
Structural Engineering: DCI Engineers
Acoustical Engineering: Parametrix Engineering
Mechanical Engineering: L&S Engineering
Landscape Architecture: MTLA
Geotechnical Engineer: Pacific Groundwater Group
Sustainable Design: Design Balance
MORE THAN A RENOVATION
This project redefines public interaction with the building and campus while celebrating the college’s values and identity.
The renovation of Spokane Community College’s main building is a forward-thinking project in many ways. The heavily renovated building boasts many new sustainable components and systems and is also the first design-build project for the Washington Community College system. The Spokane Community College (SCC) Main Building has been a well-used classroom space for over 70 years, largely untouched prior to this project. The scope involved fully renovating 51,000 square feet and adding 7,000 square feet of new area.
The project focused on three lofty goals:
- Creating a new identity and strong visual presence for a changing campus
- Incorporating diverse programs and stakeholder needs into a rigid existing building—all while putting sustainable improvements on display
- Celebrating connection to community and enhancing opportunities for student engagement
By 2026 a new, elevated north-south freeway will be completed immediately adjacent to campus. While the freeway project is needed for the Spokane community, it will drastically impact SCC, completely altering what was seen as a west facing community front door to one which is reoriented to the south. The freeway will also remove two existing SCC landmarks from the college’s historical west-facing community edge, including the iconic clock tower. The Main Building Renovation re-orients the campus, creating a new billboard and front door to the community. Large illuminate metal panels create college identity signage at the campus corner both for motorists on the future interstate and visitors at the ground plane.
“As part of the design, we really wanted the Main Building to have a more iconic facade. We wanted it to be a recognizable landmark from the perspective of someone driving along the new freeway at 60 miles per hour.”
– Clint Brown, Director of Capital Projects, Community Colleges of Spokane
The building’s new program balances the needs of diverse departments, including Cosmetology, Culinary, Hospitality, Electronics, Arts, Campus Administration, Public Safety, and Business. These diverse programs are woven together by new student study spaces and lounges. The Cosmetology and Culinary programs both offer services to the public. The building’s previous entrances led to dark, buried circulation which made finding these programs very difficult. The renovated entrances are bright, open, and welcoming, with clear retail identity for Culinary and Cosmetology.
Despite old bones, the systems and energy performance now surpass industry standards. This was coupled with long term building systems monitoring and a performance guarantee to track energy usage. Situated above the renowned Spokane aquifer, the building features a non-consumptive, open-loop geothermal well to condition the building. The rigorous, cast-in-place existing structure was saved, diverting countless tons of concrete from local landfills and minimizing carbon impacts. The structure was further embraced and enhanced by the addition of sunshades, which celebrate the existing building rhythm while minimizing glare and heat gain from the harsh south sunlight facing the main entry. These sunshades drop direct solar radiation at windows by nearly 50% which allowed for a smaller cooling system and less long-term energy usage. While impactful on the exterior, the screens have limited impact to views out of the building.
New skylights were strategically cut into the building along existing long, dark corridors, bringing light deep into the building’s interior. A rooftop solar array provides enough electricity to light the building’s public spaces. Public entrances are generous and welcoming. Previously buried programs are now front and center with light-filled public space. Entrances also serve as key nodes for campus wayfinding and help to orient and direct visitors through the building and toward the heart of campus.
Exterior materials blend the collegiate feeling of brick with metal panels, celebrating the technical nature of many of the campus’ programs.