La Crosse, Wisconsin
Architect: HSR Associates, Inc.
Owner: Western Technical College
Construction Manager: Kraus-Anderson
The Integrated Technology Center (ITC) in center of Western Technical College’s La Crosse Campus is a 125,000 GSF education, training, and presentation facility with a total cost of $29.9 Million. The ITC programming effort lead to a building project that included a ground floor expansion and renovation, total second floor renovation and the addition of a third and fourth floor to the existing two-story building. The building is LEED Platinum certified, the highest rating given by the U.S. Green Building Council.
The architect designed an advanced manufacturing training center for the region. The building succeeded in bringing all the WTC programs together, and also broadened the teaching perspectives of all those involved.
The integration of these programs allows for co-location of similar courses for more efficient use of space, faculty, and student time. It has also eliminated redundant equipment, and created shared training opportunities which allows for the programs and students to interact with each other side by side to improve the overall student training curriculum, exposure to related industries and the overall experience at the campus.
Additional teaching and learning environments were created including a sustainability ab for teaching concepts in sustainability and testing methods; a rapid p[rototyping lab used by architecture and mechanical design; a green roof and two-story interior green wall for agriculture and horticulture that also serves as a training lab for related services; and a self-contained HVAC system that heats and cools the HVAC and Refrigeration program’s building area.
The ITC was constructed to be a “living laboratory” for students. The building design integrates teaching and learning opportunities at every turn; thoughtfully exposing building components including cable trays, piping, and power and air distribution for teachers and students. Some of the other special features that broaden the number of learning opportunities include a building mechanical room with color coded piping and duct work and visible monitoring and controls systems to be used as a lab, a wall that was sheathed in clear polycarbonate sheets that allows students to see everything in the cavity, and open lab spaces that are flexible and suitable for many different applications as they are thought of.
The Western Technical College Integrated Technology Center is a forward thinking building that shows how sustainability can be achieved in a challenging renovation/expansion project and how it can be integrated into the learning environment to the benefit of all. The project brought together multiple program areas, while leading them into a forward thinking thought process that improves the student learning experience at WTC and their value in the future work force.
Photos: Fleig Design, Inc.