Hall County Campus – Lanier Technical College - Gainesville, GA

This new Hall County campus supports Lanier Technical College’s (LTC) mission of providing continuing education and training for the citizens and workforce of north-central Georgia, and represents a “campus of the future” for LTC that will sustain educational excellence well into the 21st century.

Pond (prime design professional), in association with Stevens & Wilkinson Architects and Engineers, was selected to provide programming, master planning, and design services for the new campus.

This project encompasses academic, continuing education, and workforce development training opportunities over numerous programs. Key features to this new campus not only provide industry leading technology for today, but also offer the flexibility to expand, re-tool and adapt to future advances in sciences, and industry. Through the use of collaborative study and social spaces throughout, the campus helps foster relationships between students, faculty, and the north central Georgia community. A contemporary north Georgia architectural vernacular provides a distinct and cohesive design palette for the six primary buildings on campus.

Academic Program:

The new campus is organized around eight areas:

Leadership and Administration; Economic Development; Adult Education; General Education; Business and Computer Technology; Public Service and Professional Programs; Allied Health; Technical & Industrial programs

Integrated Planning Process:

The planning process began with a concerted effort to formalize goals and objectives. Starting with an extensive space utilization study, planning involved a wide range of stakeholders from the State system; LTC administration, faculty, staff, students and foundation; local educators; and a variety of community and business partners. The campus was always regarded as a whole rather than individual buildings. This information was used for a master planning exercise giving attention to the wide variety of programs, followed by the design of the six buildings representing over 325,000 SF, and complete development of the 90+ acre site.

The project was uniquely developed by the State to be intrinsically integrated; awarding the entire process to one design team, and bringing the construction manager on board early during master planning. This approach created a cohesive, comprehensive team that stayed engaged from programming through construction.

The design team led an inclusive design process to find solutions where the sum of the parts was much greater than the whole. Programming sessions were attended by constituents beyond the segment under review, resulting in discussions on fostering connections, sharing resources, and supporting interdisciplinary learning.

Master planning workshops and town hall meetings were held to collect input from not only the broad array of college departments and stakeholders, but also the local industry, government, and business communities. The design solution supports the College’s role in improving the intellectual opportunities and technical skills of area residents through six buildings and exterior teaching spaces and as a community resource through Live-Work programs such as dental hygiene, automotive repair, and cosmetology.

Town/Gown Relationships:

The community was engaged throughout the entire planning and design process, through town hall meetings and program specific meetings, garnering building interest and consensus. LTC programs and facilities provide resources to the community, businesses, and industry through training and testing facilities, recertification programs, industry makerspace, teaching research labs, Live-Work programs, and a conference center. The campus also supports the Georgia Quick Start program, ESL education, and high school dual enrolment programs.

LTC provides an environment that is “the place to be” not only for students and staff, but for the greater Hall County community and industry partners to work, learn and expand opportunities.

Design Challenge

Pond was tasked with designing a campus that supports a highly integrated workforce development curriculum accommodating over 50 diverse programs including trade and industry, allied sciences, business technologies, hospitality, education, and economic development. The innovative solution integrates student life components throughout campus including spaces that encourage collaboration, social interaction, and integration of the neighboring community and businesses. Student life functions including a bookstore, library, and social/study areas are integrated throughout the campus. Many of these components are co-located around the campus quadrangle at the campus core, fostering connections between programs, students, and faculty. This design also promotes a more pedestrian aspect to what is typically a commuter campus.

Innovation is further supported by strategic incorporation of economic and workforce development components that foster partnerships with local industry. These spaces include a conference center and makerspace business incubator labs. Facilities dedicated to emerging technologies in industry (such as wireless technology and ammonia refrigeration) are showcased to foster enhanced learning throughout the campus.

Physical Context

The design supports the College’s mission to provide a collegiate quality experience by offering state-of-the-art facilities designed in a sophisticated design palette, comparable to four-year institutions. It respects its regional heritage through use of material and form. A cohesive palette across six buildings includes fieldstone bases anchoring buildings to the earth. Strong thrusting overhangs throughout provide uniformity, shelter from the sun, and affirm points of entry. Transparency, both interior and exterior, showcases prominent programs. The college believes that an important part of the student experience is having a sense of belonging in a place ‘where fond memories are made’. As such, the campus design promotes an atmosphere of community, fostering a sense of ownership. A traditional campus quadrangle creates connections, reinforcing community. Building arrangement provides for axial views through the campus.

The site was designed to both respect topography and minimize site costs. As such, the only retainer wall over 90+ acres also serves as a building foundation. Parking is also dispersed for convenience and efficiency, and parking aisles are interspersed with low maintenance indigenous landscaping. Outdoor amenities include an amphitheater, lake views, and ‘bosque’, providing an intimate social setting.

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