Northwest Vista College (NVC) recently broke ground on its new 52,550 square foot Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) Building. As an innovative, project-based learning hub, STEM will encourage curiosity, creativity, and collaboration among students in fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. The inspiring and inclusive design by Overland Partners invites learners from different backgrounds, fields of study, and academic disciplines into the space and promotes a shared identity for all students, faculty and staff who are part of the Northwest Vista College and the Alamo Colleges District community.
“Northwest Vista College is proud to offer nationally-renowned science, technology, engineering, and math programs (STEM). Our new STEM Building will spark even more innovation and technology-based education, helping strengthen our existing local and regional partnerships while preparing students and graduates for careers of the future.”
Dr. Ric Baser, President – Northwest Vista College
The STEM Building offers a beautiful juxtaposition between cutting-edge, future-forward design and the natural setting in which it is nestled, with abundant mature trees, all of which will be preserved and incorporated into the landscape. A variety of protected outdoor spaces will leverage the existing tree canopy and provide ample spaces for immersion in nature. Site amenities such as places for outdoor learning, and a dedicated food truck station, are integrated features of the project design.
The interior of the facility is comprised of a wide range of innovative learning environments including flexible, general-purpose classrooms; chemistry, engineering, math, physics, genetics, and tutoring labs; instructor offices, and student and faculty common areas. The two-story elevated lobby and common space, wrapped in dramatic lake and tree canopy views, is the social hub for celebrating STEM on campus.
NVC’s EDUCATIONAL & STEM HIGHLIGHTS:
- NVC is commemorating 25 years of Creating Opportunities for Success.
- NVC’s nationally recognized Project Math Paths (PMP), funded by Title V National Grant, streamlines enrollment, advising, and placement as well as accelerates students’ progress through math core curriculum to improve success and graduation rates. PMP is an innovative program developed by NVC, and a Top 10 Finalist for the national Bellwether Award.
- STEAM Makerspace is a collaborative space between Engineering, 3-D Animation, Gaming, Fine Arts and Science for students, faculty, and staff to explore and design innovative projects that bridge STEM with the Arts.
- Learning Assistant Math Paths (LAMP) program provides in-class math support for students in science courses and remote learning during COVID-19.
TOP DESIGN FEATURES:
This state-of-the-art learning center is comprised of two-wings and three-levels, with an open-air “porch” at the first level, while the second and third levels adjoin at the intersection of these wings.
- Welcoming – “Open-arms” building layout embraces the campus and is inviting and inspiring to current and potential STEM students.
- Leveraged site features / building orientation – Views of the lake, leverages prevailing breezes (utilizing building massing optimization) to enhance exterior spaces for learning and socializing to enjoy the outdoors comfortably. Designed for future installation of photovoltaic panels.
- Tree preservation – The entire project design avoids disturbing the natural site and native vegetation while preserving mature trees.
- Future-proofed learning laboratory “Armature” design for long-term teaching and systems’ flexibility that support changing education scenarios and demand
- Flexible, social spaces – Encourage student collaboration and community engagement (Ground Floor Engineering Labs easily convert to Community Room for Science Fair and other STEM events).
LOCATION & FUNDING:
The new STEM Center is located at 3535 N. Ellison Drive, San Antonio, TX 78251, in the heart of the Northwest Vista College campus. In May of 2017, Bexar County voters approved a general obligation bond and awarded Northwest Vista College $69 million to make necessary improvements to current buildings and add new facilities.
- Overland Partners – Architect / Sustainable Design, led by Adam Bush, AIA
- SpawGlass – General Contractor / Construction Manager
- CNG Engineering – Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineering
- Datum | Rios – Structural Engineering
- Bain Medina Bain – Civil Engineering
- Co’Design – Landscape Architects
The targeted final construction date of NVC’s STEM Center is September 2021, at which time a community grand opening will be held. For more information about the project, visit https://www.alamo.edu/nvc/.