Construction on Ohlone Community College’s Academic Core Project is now underway in Fremont, California. The transformative project encompasses improvements and updates across Ohlone’s Fremont campus, including the creation of three new academic buildings: a science center, music and visual arts building and a learning commons/library. Combined, the three new buildings will total approximately 190,000 square feet.
Designed to help Ohlone break out of the commuter campus model, the project includes ample space for students to gather for both academic and social pursuits — giving them a reason to stay on campus and engage with the college community outside of the classroom. A new campus thoroughfare will promote an active pedestrian experience filled with areas for studying and respite, while also opening the campus to sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay.
With a long-term goal of achieving net-zero energy consumption, the design harnesses an existing on-site solar farm and introduces a new geothermal ground loop system that will heat and cool the new buildings. Optimal building orientation, shading devices, daylight harvesting, high-performance building envelopes, and the mild climate are among a few of the many factors supporting the college’s net zero aspirations.
Construction on the academic core buildings is expected to be completed before the end of 2018. Already, the project is garnering attention for its inventive approach to design: In 2015, it received an Honor Award for Excellence in Planning a District or Campus Component from the Society for College and University Planning, and recently, it was featured in a Fast Company article about enriching the learning experience for community college students. The project’s advanced lighting controls and low-flow water systems have also been featured in Consulting-Specifying Engineer.