College master plan unveils future expansion of LCCCBy Will Hebert
Architectural guidelines defined
At a special business meeting of the Laramie County Community College Board of Trustees on Aug. 31. Paul Haack, president of Anderson Mason Dale Architects, outlined the recommended architectural guidelines and character developed for the draft of the campus master plan.
The Denver-based Anderson Mason Dale Architects along with JJR, of Ann Arber, Mich., and Paulien & Associates Inc., of Denver, are the three firms the trustees hired to organize and draft the campus master plan.
The board will reexamine the drafted master plan Wednesday, Sept. 21, and vote to approve it Oct. 19.
The firm examined the current campus and identified current architectural characteristics and decided what to maintain and transform to create a strong campus character, Haack said.
“I think in all traditional campuses the really wonderful and important thing about that is coming away with a very coherent image of the place, so I think the guidelines are one of those things that will really reinforce that,” Haack said. “We think it has to do with marketability. A strong campus character will attract students, faculty and staff.”
He also said the firms tried to create a foundation of design for the college and its future designers to follow.
“We’re coming here to do the work on this master plan, but five, 10, 15, 20 years from now, what we want to do is set up a framework, so that you can continue the vision that we talk about and that you participate in today,” Haack said.
Haack said LCCC’s current defining architectural patterns are as follows:
- the existing spine or mall walkway;
- white, low, one-story buildings; horizontally, which provides minimal roof profile;
- and occasional exceptions in earth-toned, three-story buildings.
The architectural guidelines Haack outlined were as follows:
- the inclusion of two-part massing in buildings, meaning each building has a base and roof with a transparent pedestrian level;
- east-west orientation to buildings, which reinforces outdoor landscape areas;
- a varied roof profile that includes screened and integrated rooftop equipment;
- and vertical, transparent elements at entries to reinforce entrances.
Haack said orientation and way finding were two main aspects the firm took into account when drafting the plan. Certain color choices were selected in the plan to encourage way finding, and changes to lighting were also made with way finding in mind, Haack said. The firms suggested the college use the existing palette to create new buildings and expand on it to knit together the campus spine, he said.
Bob Doyle, of JJR, said the firms included in the draft of the master plan placement and sizing suggestions for signs around campus. Doyle said signs should be placed in a way that informs people of building locations and the signs should be large enough for drivers to read and make directional decisions in a timely manner.
The plan also includes guidelines for campus furnishings and amenities such as benches, trash and recycling receptacles, bicycle racks and benches, Doyle said. He said simple-to-maintain, metal mesh benches were preferred in studies involving faculty and staff.
“This particular selection—this family if you will—of site amenities has a certain modern flair to it that’s compatible with both the existing spine and the newer buildings that are going in along the loop road,” Doyle said.
Campus parking for cars, horses examined
Doyle also said the current draft of the master plan will also increase the number of parking spaces on campus from 1,640 to 2,185. At a Sept. 7 study session of the LCCC Board of Trustees, Carol Hoglund, vice president of administration and finance, said planning had begun a new parking lot of about 40 spaces south of the Center for Conferences and Institutes across J.O. Reed Way. Hoglund said the lot was needed because people often parked on the grass and interfere with the highway right of way. However, vice chair of the LCCC Board of Trustees Greg Thomas, who said this was the first time he had heard of the proposed lot, questioned why the parking lot was not indicated on the master plan draft.
“I don’t think that’s the solution,” Thomas said. “We’re ugly enough down on that part of campus.”
Hoglund said the lot, projected to cost about $75,000 from auxiliary funding, had gone out for bids.
In another area, the college officials and the planning firms have also identified a need to move and update the college’s stables although no plans have been confirmed to do so. Hoglund told the trustees at the Sept. 7 study session that the original plan to move the stables north of the College Arena would be impossible. She said the Federal Emergency Management Agency would not allow this move because the area is situated in a flood plain and flood way.
Projects to move forward upon approval
Once the trustees finalize the master plan, the college will begin planning construction and renovations to campus facilities, said LCCC’s interim president, Dr. Miles LaRowe.
“We’ve had the benefit of this information over a period of time, and we’ve taken a look at some projects that we feel would be compelling to at least start,” he said. The projects the college is most interested in starting soon are those that are easier to complete given variables such as the weather and calendar, LaRowe said.
Hoglund said planning for major construction will not begin until the board has given input and approved a final draft of the master plan.
“Part of the reason for the hesitation is that we really want the board to drive this decision about what’s next,” Hoglund said.
She said many major maintenance projects around campus could begin sooner, but larger construction projects could take longer to begin.
“There’s several levels of planning that need to be completed, and that could take up to eight months to a year depending on the size of the building,” Hoglund said. “We’re going to be seeking some direction from the board about where they want to go.”
Hoglund said two projects the college will most likely begin first are new construction and utilization of the Health Science Building’s third floor and the construction of a new University of Wyoming outreach center. She said the HS Building’s third floor will most likely be completed first.
LaRowe said the college may utilize the space in the HS Building’s third floor by creating more classrooms and offices there. He said the classrooms may use a different configuration than current ones.
“We’ll probably have some larger classrooms as well as some more traditional sized,” he said. LaRowe said he was unsure of the exact number of offices the floor could accommodate, but the addition of offices on the floor should help alleviate a lack of office space at the college.
Hoglund agreed that utilizing the HS Building’s third floor should increase office space at the college.
“We do have a shortage of office spaces, so that should help with that,” Hoglund said. She said the college would like to begin construction on the floor as soon as possible. “I’ve been waiting to really do any real action on this until the board’s weighed in and given us some direction, but once they have, we’ll begin to engage architects to help us design that space.”
Hoglund said the funding for construction on the HS Building’s third floor will come from reserves and could cost about $1.2 million.
Plan expands cooperative opportunities with UW
The second project Hoglund said the college would like to begin work on soon is the UW outreach center. She said the college set the UW outreach center as a priority because it has been in planning for some time.
Hoglund said plans for the UW outreach building were approved through the Wyoming Community College Commission at a meeting in Sheridan on Friday, Aug. 19, and LaRowe added it has been approved by the Legislature. The UW outreach building was ranked sixth of 14 requests by the WCCC based on several criteria, some of which were space utilization, the condition of current buildings, whether the changes were necessary because of a health and safety issue and whether changes are a renovation or new building.
Hoglund said the last two criteria were weighed heavily in the WCCC’s decision.
The new UW outreach center is estimated to cost $26 million, Hoglund said. LaRowe said LCCC and UW plan to split the cost of the building half-and-half, but LCCC is still discussing the source of funding.
Origins of a plan
The college began creating the master plan on March 1 and hired JJR, Paulien and Associates Inc. and Anderson, Mason & Dale to assist in examining the college’s facilities.
The first completed draft of the master plan was presented to the college staff Aug. 17 and was contracted to cost $319,400.
The firms outlined the process in May of drafting the master plan by splitting it up into six steps: discovery, analysis, examining space utilization and space needs, examining alternatives, drafting a preliminary plan and a final plan and presenting a draft report, then final report.
Hoglund said the college gathered input from students in April by presenting three maps in the Student Center. Students put dots on the maps to represent aspects they liked about the plan, she said.