The vision to design and build a facility to support the workforce needs of the region came to life in the summer of 2012. With assistance from a private donor, the College of Western Idaho acquired a recently vacated 138,000-squarefoot Sam’s Club retail building. The need to create a conducive workspace by renovating and building within a pre-existing structure COST PER SQ FT$51.14FEATURED IN2014 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYVocational/Industrial arts off from there.
From the beginning of the project, discovering the needs of each particular program was the priority. The building became a series of large, specialized learning spaces, which presented interesting issues with adjacencies and wayfinding. The task was taking a massive warehouse space and making it navigable and understandable for the students. With concrete floors and open ceilings in long hallways, each destination was defined using paint color around its entry. Other significant challenges involved using existing utilities, incorporating existing skylights and the implementation of a second floor.
This new facility now houses nine professional technical programs, including drafting technology, electronics technology, auto body, automotive technology, diesel technology, industry labs, machine tool technology, powersports and small engine repair technology, and welding and metals fabrication.