Ohlone College, Newark Center for Health Sciences and Technology

Newark, California

Project Info
Ohlone College, Newark Center for Health Sciences and Technology
Newark, California
Complete: 2008
Square Footage: 130,000
LEED Platinum Certified

Project Team Award-Platinum, 2009
Building Design + Construction

Environmental Hero, 2008
US Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Environmental Awards

Design Award of Merit, 2008
Community College Facility Coalition (CCFC)

The Newark Center, master planned for an 81-acre (327,800 square meter) site, is based on the paradigm of advanced technology within an ecologically sustainable setting. Certified LEED Platinum, the design of the Center incorporates sustainable design holistically, weaving green elements throughout and highlighting those as an ongoing teaching element in the school’s focus on environmental stewardship. The eco-friendly campus is the first “green” community college campus in the nation. The project employs three different alternative energy systems and a long list of other green features, from sustainably produced furniture to an “enthalpy wheel”.

Allied health programs include nursing, respiratory therapy, medical & physical therapy and health & wellness, with technology programs in biotechnology, computers, networks, emerging technologies and environmental studies. The building has two wings, one for health sciences and the other for technology. The two wings come together around a campus green, joined by community areas including a Learning Resource Center, general education area, clinic and the campus commons with access to the bookstore, cafe and scholarly activity and training areas. The design focused on achieving adaptability in the design to meet alternative methods of learning and the changing needs of education programs.

Classrooms and laboratories are organized on a large flexible module which caters to modern learning environments that are moving toward active, collaborative, learning. Students’ schedules are more like a workplace, with classes clustered in time blocks instead of spaced apart. Instruction is interdisciplinary and based upon themes instead of isolated subjects, with students working in thematic “learning communities”. Furniture is on wheels so each class may rearrange as needed before and during class. Tables fold into an upward position, which allows for substantial flexibility—especially in Health Sciences where learners move from discussion around tables to bedside work with manikins.