Lanier Technical College, Hall County Campus

A new 21st Century technical college campus for NE Georgia residents which 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.

Design Challenge

The challenge was to design a new 21st Century 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 Northeast Georgia 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.