The new Robert W. Plaster Center for Advanced Manufacturing at Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield, Mo., is a first-of-a-kind educational asset in the region. The 125,000-sf facility will educate and train a new generation in high tech, clean manufacturing and fabrication.
Strong, metallic materials and geometric forms make up the shining facade, creating a modern, creative feel. Flexibility was a key goal of the program; thus, the Center is designed to be open, with tracks for movable walls to adjust to varying class sizes and new configurations.
The building’s core is a workshop high bay area, featuring more than 30,000 sf of active learning environments that are double- and triple-height, encased in steel and glass. This design element puts the work of students and industry partner collaboration on display.
These spaces are stocked with advanced equipment, including 3D printers, laser cutters, robotic welders, computer-aided lathes, mechatronics stations, and an overhead gantry crane.
Classrooms are arranged alongside the high bay for seamless transitions from class to lab, while the glass collaboration zones overlook a 500-foot-long high bay space that is leasable to relocating or start-up companies. This area fronts one of Springfield’s main thoroughfares.
The new facility occupies a long, skinny site, and needed to provide tractor trailer access at multiple points. This created a design challenge to fit in with the pedestrian-friendly campus.
Like stitches holding different pieces of fabric together, the places between academic spaces pull together the large, open spaces full of glass and steel with playful, warm wood details bringing warmth to quiet study spaces. The flexible design encourages and supports both short- and longer-term training opportunities with a range of learning environments, including:
- Specialized hands-on learning environments
- Customizable simulation training centers
- Long-distance learning space
- Research and development labs
- Designated process-improvement space
- Business incubation test centers
- A large high-bay environment for industry-led projects.
A large assembly stair occupies the two-story lobby, flooded with daylight and equipped for presentations to large groups from busloads of middle school students to corporate investors.
On the project team:
Owner and/or developer: Ozarks Technical Community College
Design architect: Perkins and Will
Architect of record: Dake Wells Architecture
MEP engineers: Antella Consulting Engineers (electrical engineer); Henderson Engineers (mechanical, plumbing, fire protection engineer)
Structural engineer: J&M Engineering
General contractor/construction manager: Crossland Construction