Walbridge served as construction manager-at-risk on the 60,350-square-foot Career Technology Center, built on the campus of Monroe County Community College (MCCC) in Monroe, Mich., in 2013.
The facility houses various classrooms and state-of-the-art training spaces that include high-bay laboratories for instruction in nuclear engineering; fuel cell manufacturing training; welding, construction and computer-aided drafting facilities; and automotive engineering, hybrid and battery technology training. Upon completion, the new multi-use facility will be the most technical building on the school’s campus.
The Career Technology Center was constructed to achieve LEED® certification through the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. One impressive feature at the project is a 65-well geothermal field, installed behind the new structure. The geothermal energy harvested from the earth will assist in providing the entire building with sustainable, cost-effective climate control.
In addition, a heat recovery unit was installed atop the air handling unit on the building’s roof to treat and re-circulate air inside. The air recycling system is designed to reduce heat loss.
The geothermal field at MCCC was one of the most significant features in the project’s budget. Original designs called for it to be installed over an area that spread across a campus road. By revisiting designs, the team determined it would be more cost-effective to bore the geothermal wells deeper into the earth – reaching depths of 400 feet – which would necessitate fewer wells in the field to heat the new Career Tech Center.
Boring deeper brought the amount of needed wells from 85 to 65. In addition, it reduced the overall size of the field, keeping all the wells in one greenbelt area and eliminating the need for it to spread across the road. The geothermal concept boasts a significant return on investment and will help the college save on the new building’s long-term energy costs.
The addition to the MCCC campus is expected to address the college’s educational objectives in bringing upgrades to existing programs that meet both current and future employer needs. Several new one- and two-year tech-specific career and occupational programs are now offered to MCCC students at the new Career Tech Center. The $14.5 million project, funded in part by the State of Michigan, is expected to have a huge impact on the local economy.