Penta Career Center serves and educates 2,000 students from five counties. The design features a "center core" area surrounded by three wings, with flexible classrooms and laboratories that can adapt easily to evolving career-technical programs. The three-story, glass-walled core is the facility’s focal point, and includes a student commons area, CAPACITY2,000COST PER SQ FT$175.00FEATURED IN2009 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYSpecialized center, 600-seat auditorium, culinary-arts program and media center.
Sixteen districts feed Penta, so to create a sense of unity as well as opportunities for collaboration, the building includes social zones and a central commons area. In response to the long distances many students travel to attend, Penta—unlike most career tech facilities—offers both academic and career-related training.
The exterior envelope incorporates precast concrete insulated panels with inset brick and modular metal panels, recalling a "manufacturing process system." Structural and mechanical systems are exposed in lab areas, providing a tangible teaching tool for construction trade instructors. Cooling is achieved in part through a unique thermal energy-storage ice-bank system.