Metropolitan Community College, Penn Valley Campus, Education Center/Storm Shelter

Kansas City, Missouri

  • FIRM

    Gould Evans


    Metropolitan Community College

  • AREA

    19,000 sq.ft.





The intent of the building was to provide conventional instruction space, an expandable meeting room, lecture hall and support spaces. Additionally, the structure had to meet FEMA standards, which included the strength to withstand an F5 tornado and meeting the “five-minute rule,” which states the shelter must be within five minutes walking or driving distance from any ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY2,500COST PER SQ FT$263.00FEATURED IN2008 Architectural Portfolio on campus.

The campus central courtyard, the only gathering green space on campus, was the site that met the requirements. In order to prevent losing valued green space on campus, the building was designed as a landscape form that would replace the natural green setting, preserving student access to an active outdoor environment.

The structure is partially below ground with a green roof terrace that provides donation opportunities of commissioned art. Generous amounts of natural light were incorporated to minimize a “basement-like” feel for students.

Constructed of concrete and brick masonry that complement the existing campus setting, the building can withstand 250 mph winds and debris.