Metropolitan Community College (MCC) offers a number of career and technical education programs across its five campus locations in the Kansas City metro area. Identifying an opportunity to create stronger program synergies and increase visibility and accessibility to the community it serves, MCC underwent innovative planning exercises to more effectively align programs with spaces and ultimately made the strategic decision to move its Business & Technology campus to the urban core in hopes to build the workforce pipeline with a new population of workforce innovators.
Working closely with Hollis + Miller Architects, the team reviewed factors such as optimal size and distances between campuses, strategic locations, program adjacencies and more to develop building and educational criteria best serving its student communities. The design team worked with faculty and stakeholders to understand current programming and identify curriculum delivery efficiencies, and then completed a number of feasibility studies and test fits before choosing the former Nazarene Publishing House as the new location for the Advanced Technical Skills Institute. Conveniently positioned on the public transportation route, the building is just a short jaunt from MCC’s Penn Valley Campus and the new Engineering Technology building, and parallels other educational institutions along the Troost Corridor, including the Kansas City Public Schools administration building.
Dealing with a short timeline for change, the team needed to generate new energy among faculty and community to make this endeavor achievable. Throughout the design process, MCC stakeholders were led through several exercises to imagine a space where real-world collaboration and hands-on opportunities for student success could come together while also allowing the building to serve as a community resource. Previously, programs were siloed and a lack of visibility and accessibility plagued enrollment. The need for stronger connections to industry standards and cross collaboration with industry partners led to increased dialogue with those partners.
Together, the team co-created a space where learning is on display throughout and the building itself is a learning tool. Hands-on programs include HVAC, welding, construction and more, and are connected by a social spine activating corridors and integrating programs. These programs provide MCC students, as well as local high school students who have reciprocal partnerships with the college, opportunities to connect with industry partners who are direct collaborators in various programs. The innovation hall, fab lab and collaboration zones provide departmental adjacencies with ample daylight and technology integration throughout.
The former publishing house has been transformed into a next-century career technical building supporting not only students, but the greater community. Strategic planning forged greater industry partnerships streamlining job recruitment – a win-win for both students and businesses amidst an ongoing talent battle. The design team was able to monitor rising steel and lumber costs during the Covid pandemic and delivered the project on schedule and on budget. Reducing the overall square footage from 325,000 in the previous Business & Technology Campus to 101,000 in the new ATSI building increases efficiencies and saves costs.
The location in the heart of the Troost Corridor has brought new life and educational resources to the greater community. Childcare, transportation and housing are available nearby to students, encouraging lifelong learning in a supportive environment fostering innovation. Additionally, the new building serves as an economic catalyst to local businesses.
Read about student success stories through the ATSI and Engineering Technology programs.
Designed in conjunction with Cuningham Group.