Bates Technical College is planning to expand its offerings in Central Tacoma, thanks to a infusion of state money for a new $23 million building at its Central Campus.
Bates hopes to break ground on the new Advanced Technology Center in March and open the doors in winter 2015. It will be the first time the college has added to the campus at 19th Street and Trafton Street since the property’s purchase in 2001.
“We are really excited about the opportunity to bring online a new facility for the college,” said Marty Mattes, Bates’ director of facilities and operations. “With the new high-tech facility and state-of-the-art equipment, we will be able to provide training for students that meets and hopefully exceeds industry expectations for new hires.”
The 53,000-square-foot facility will include multiple labs for computers, electronics, robotics and video production. There also will be multiple large meeting spaces designed to attract trade shows and industry professionals for conferences and larger events.
The two-story building will house the student services office and library, along with the digital media, advanced technology, engineering and shared-learning programs.
The idea for the building was conceived in 2003, but didn’t receive state funding until this year because of competition from other career and technical colleges for capital money as well as the state’s budget troubles.
Originally proposed as a $27 million project, the building is now being redesigned to reflect the $23 million appropriation provided by the legislature. The redesign could delay construction.
Mattes said the construction of the building is the foundation for the school’s facilities master plan, a 10-15-year plan to improve facilities across all three of Bates’ campuses. To upgrade the college’s existing buildings, the school needs room to relocate classes and move students. That kind of space isn’t available because of class sizes and restricted spaces in the current buildings, Mattes said. The new building will relieve some of that pressure.
“It’s the catalyst for the growth of the college,” Mattes said.
Bates officials also expect the project to give the 19th Street location, which has only one building, more of a campus feel.
The existing building, which Bates shares with KBTC Public Television, houses the audio/visual technology and communication programs. Many of these programs will shift to the new building once constructed, but students will still have the opportunity to use both facilities.
“Now, we’ll actually have a campus operation that will more prominently promote educational activities,” Mattes said. “It’s going to change the face of who we are to the community.”
As the student government president during part of the planning, Jason Latimer met with the architects to provide a student perspective on features such as the common areas, including the “projection cube.” The unique design features large walls in the common area that will have student work videos and images projected onto them.
“When students know that our input was taken into consideration, they know the building was made for them,” Latimer said.
The building’s design also incorporates environmentally conscious features such as extra windows to allow sunlight in and decrease the amount of necessary light fixtures. It will have solar panels to generate enough energy to power a classroom, with the option to add more panels in the future.
Mattes said the building, designed by McGranahan Architects, is designed to fit the silver certification standard from the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.