Workforce Training Center
Located at the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, the Workforce Training Center consolidates several existing programs into a centralized building to accommodate growing demand. This provides more educational opportunities for students and economic development opportunities for the college and surrounding areas.
The UACCM workforce development curriculum, which includes automobile service, welding, refrigeration, and HVAC systems, and electrical systems were previously offered in separate buildings. The Workforce Training Center offers the chance for strengthening relationships and collaborative work between disciplines. To encourage community development, social spaces were emphasized in the design. Preceding the building’s main entrance is a courtyard with seating that lines the walkway. The walls surrounding the courtyard are lined with glass, bringing natural light into the interior and drawing attention toward the exterior: the courtyard and the rest of the university. Social nodes can be found in the interior as well. A Conference Center with a capacity for 450 people can be used for events and gatherings; as well as a lounge adjacent to the main entrance and seating along the main corridors.
In addition to encouragement of social concepts, the design was influenced by the equipment required by the students. The labs are organized in one wing of the building for easy access to storage space and shared materials; they can be found at the perimeter of the building, making transportation of machinery possible. In addition to the equipment, the building’s main systems were left exposed to serve as a teaching tool for students and faculty alike.
Along with university system standards, the goal of creating an environmentally-friendly building led to the pursuit of LEED Silver status. Sustainable efforts range from green space to recycling. Green spaces on the site provide open areas for vegetation and wildlife while also giving occupants a connection to the outdoors. Additionally, the green space helps with stormwater infiltration and plays a role in reducing the heat island effect, or the occurrence of warmer temperatures in urban landscapes due to solar energy retention of constructed surfaces. Material decisions were also influenced by the desire to reduce the heat island effect. During construction, there was an effort to utilize recycled materials as well as to reduce construction waste when possible. The facility itself offers recycling for materials such as paper, plastic, cardboard, glass, and metals. Lastly, the building’s sustainable principles are highlighted in a signage system that can be found throughout the building to generate greater interest in sustainable design in current and future work.