The Coast Community College District understood it needed a Student Resource Center at the Le-Jao satellite campus. The original campus, sited near Westminster’s Civic Center, appeared as just another bland masonry commercial structure surrounded by an eclectic mix of residential neighborhoods, civic and cultural buildings and a nearby middle school. The Le-Jao Center provides adult student access to special programs in academic, personal and social development. The original Center lacked sufficient functional space for the growing number of students to study, collaborate and socialize – a need the District wanted to address.
KNA Structural Engineers and Westgroup Designs, working closely with the District, brought the talent, services and out-of-the-box thinking required to do just that. Rather than cramming another non-descript building into the middle of an already snug campus, the team saw an opportunity to create something dynamic for the District and for the community.
Westgroup Designs’ concept was contemporary and bold, positioning the proposed new space at the front of the campus and floating it over the existing open-air main entrance. Poor soil conditions and the architect’s dramatic, elevated design supported by only two columns provided KNA’s Principal Josh Randall and Project Manager Travis Culp with a unique set of challenges. Robust caissons and a braced/trussed wall system were skillfully engineered and integrated seamlessly into the architect’s design.
As a result, the impact to regular facility operations during construction was significantly reduced. The engineered structural system, being separate and distinct from the existing building, made for swift DSA processing and approvals. Perhaps the greatest benefit, however, is that the Center’s dynamic new public face completely rebrands the campus and brings renewed significance to the City of Westminster.
- Preliminary Design
- Structural Analysis
- Construction Documents
- Equipment Support and Anchorage
- Plan Approvals
- Quality Assurance Review
- Construction Administration
- Value Engineering
The starkly contrasting elevated glass addition moves the pre-existing building significantly forward in time. It also provides a visual connection to the Westminster Civic Center located across the street. Students and staff now enjoy improved access to computer classes, English learning labs, tutoring counselors, information resources, and a food court, all in a beautiful and technologically savvy learning environment.
A Closer Look
The new 2,000 square foot building satisfies and exceeds the District’s requirements, giving the Center the space and functionality it required. It takes full advantage of the best available technology. Building components include a displacement ventilation system, high-performance glazing, and automated lighting to maximize energy savings while providing a healthier and more comfortable interior environment. This elevated multi-use flex space enhances student engagement in personal development. It also addresses the District’s triple-bottom-line concern for energy savings, social relevance, and long-term fiscal stability.
“It was gratifying to work on a project that incorporated exposed structure into the design. It allows for a greater appreciation of what it takes to provide a safe and stable structure. The design creates the illusion of an elegant floating space that joins two existing robust structures.”
– Travis Culp, PE, Project Manager