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living wall and steel column bracing in X shape in an atrium with clerestory windows skylights and triangular coffered ceiling
Kalamazoo RESA Career Connect Campus

Enriching Career Education for Statewide Transformation

Client

Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency

Project Location

Kalamazoo County, MI

Area

162,000 SF

Cost

$85 million

The Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency is an intermediary school district serving nine public school districts, 19 private schools, and 23 regional school districts in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. From career programs to individual and family resources, Kalamazoo RESA transforms lives through educational excellence. The agency’s latest endeavor – its new Career Connect Campus – is the springboard to enrich career and technical educational opportunities for high school students and adult learners across the state.

Our flexible design accounts for both current and future career-based programs. The first phase consists of a two-story structure featuring high-bay spaces where students will master the skills of transportation and construction trades. Other labs and learning studios support advanced manufacturing, agriculture, animal sciences, culinary sciences and hospitality, health sciences, information technology, and supply chain management. DLR Group is providing design, interior design, FF&E, environmental graphics, and acoustic design in association with the local architect of record Wightman.

A Learning Building

The Career Connect Campus is a learning building, designed to deliver education via immersion. Through hands-on and active courses, learners earn industry-recognized credentials and certificates to prepare them for their futures. Industry partnerships also ensure a continual and qualified labor market in high-demand and high-income occupations across Kalamazoo County and the state.

A Learning Building

01
Immersion

Visible and Active Learning

The active learning experience begins immediately, as students and visitors navigate natural elements on their approach to the facility. Students see first-hand the functionality and benefit of on-site stormwater management near the entrance. Rain gardens using native plants to maintain the ecosystem further advance the agency’s commitment to sustainability and create a beautiful backdrop for the campus. Inside the building, an expansive commons creates an interdisciplinary space where innovation and learning are on full display. This is the place where intentional collisions are encouraged between multiple pathways, allowing students to window shop into their futures. Ample natural light and views of outdoor learning spaces augment connections between the building and nature. Planters located inside and outside the campus, at the learning terrace, and on the rooftop give students an opportunity to dig in, literally. These planters are available to students in the culinary arts and agriculture programs, creating additional crossover opportunities between programs.

02
On Display

The Inner Workings

Mechanical systems are intentionally exposed to showcase the viability and workability of these integrated systems. For structural support, a hybrid of steel and mass timber introduces alternative materials that can reduce carbon footprint. Information technology labs feature exposed server racks viewable from the commons to help students grasp the tech guts of a building and to see how conduit connects technology from one side of the facility to the other. Additionally, digital displays strategically placed throughout the facility reiterate the importance of industry partnerships, demonstrate real-time building energy performance relating to climate, and promote the unique educational advantage of a learning building.

Project Milestone

Groundbreaking

a curved walkway lined with tall green grass against a rectilinear railing in front of two story building with glass bay door
Image © DLR Group

Firm News

Construction Underway on KRESA Career Connect Campus

The new centralized facility will serve high school students and adult learners in Kalamazoo County, MI and across the state.

Read more

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