As part of its 2010 Master Plan Update, Metropolitan Community College (MCC) began to strategically create centers of specialization at various MCC locations in order to reduce facility redundancy and improve the effectiveness of its delivery of education to the community. The Master Plan Update called for three separate buildings and integrated landscape on the historic Fort Omaha Campus in Omaha, Nebraska.
Holland Basham Architects served as the Executive Architect for the overall project and was responsible for the design of the Academic Success Center; BCDM Architects was responsible for the design of the Construction Education Center; and BNIM was responsible for the design of the Center for Advanced and Emerging Technology (CAET), with all three firms coordinating work throughout the design and construction phases. BNIM also served as the LEED administrator for all buildings as part of the project.
CAET serves as an innovation hub where the making of things — through prototyping, design, and production — spurs innovation and entrepreneurship. The building design facilitates experiential learning with a variety of learning environments, including collaborative office and conferencing facilities; active learning classrooms rich with analogue and digital technology; hands-on design and fabrication labs; emerging labs; and a high-bay innovation space. Various scales and types of spaces with flexible infrastructure will allow the building to be modified and adapted over time as needs change in serving both students on campus and hands-on, advanced technology lifelong learning for corporations.
CAET is designed with a utilitarian elegance. It provides student and industry needs for invention, fabrication, and demonstration, along with additional, intentional accommodations for public receptions and exhibitions. The circulation paths efficiently connect all spaces and are carefully crafted with modest, durable materials to allow for service forklift traffic and large groups of reception visitors. The office suite, boardroom, and training areas are thoughtfully located to simultaneously allow for increased work efficiency and high visibility for entrepreneurial display areas in the larger-scale innovation spaces.
Industry partners began their involvement with the programming and design process, now serve as a committee to identify future jobs training needs in the surrounding region, and will continue to contribute as collaborative partners in the design, making, and testing, utilizing the emerging laboratories and design and fabrication labs.