The historic Paramount Building in downtown Dallas was the site for a challenging renovation. Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) acquired the building, a warehouse and distribution center, whose concrete structural grid made sense for a 1920s construction facility—but proved challenging as a space for classrooms and COST PER SQ FT$150.00FEATURED IN2010 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYInterior Renovation labs. Three-foot-diameter columns on 20-foot spacing demanded a precise and creative solution. In addition to the structural challenges, the architect needed to ensure DCCCD’s programs, including suitable teaching, simulation laboratory and administration space, fit into this former warehouse without sacrificing the building’s character.
In-depth vision sessions with DCCCD’s staff and end users helped the architect determine spaces for the allied-health and sciences programs. Those spaces include classrooms, lecture halls, specialized teaching areas for medical skills laboratories, radiological science, surgical technologist, respiratory therapist, medical staff services, medical transcription and other career-preparation options. Staff offices, a student computer lab, testing center and student interactive spaces also were included. Multiple classroom configurations were needed, and all classrooms were requested to be distance-learning capable.
The central atrium was opened up and modernized to give the building a look more in keeping with the cutting-edge training received by students. Extra daylight brightens the informal meeting areas created throughout the building, enabling students to interact with each other, study or wait for the next class.