College committee hears building updates

Posted: March 2, 2018 at 3:36 p.m.

BENTONVILLE -- Progress on Northwest Arkansas Community College's Integrated Design Lab is slightly behind schedule, and the ground breaking for the Washington County Center should take place later this year, college officials reported to the Land Use Committee today.

The Integrated Design Lab will house the workforce construction management and visual arts programs as they have similar needs in terms of tools, resources and ventilation.

Meeting Information

The next Northwest Arkansas Community College Board of Trustees meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 12 in the board room in Burns Hall.

Source: Staff Report

The schematic design phase was set to be finished Wednesday, but is taking longer than planned, said Debi Buckley, vice president of finance and administration.

"We hope that in paying a lot more diligence in this schematic design phase that the design development phase will be a little bit shorter," she said.

The schematic design phase is where the architects meet with those involved in the project to determine the project goals. The development design phase focuses more on materials and operational systems.

The bidding phase is scheduled to take place in July, and construction is set to begin in August, Buckley said.

College officials are looking at opening the lab in fall 2019. They estimate the building to be about 24,000 square feet and cost $5.5 million.

The building will be paid for with local taxes. The college sets aside one-third of the millage revenue it receives from the Bentonville and Rogers school districts for capital needs. Officials are also talking to potential donors.

The building will be in the middle of campus, just west of the Becky Paneitz Student Center. The 2014 campus plan designates the site for a building.

"Our architects have seen this building as a real flow through to the rest of campus," Buckley said. "It's going to be a nice connector to the rest of campus."

This building is the first of three phases in the project's plan. The second phase may include a bauhaus where the technical arts and visual arts can collaborate. Plans show it south of the first phase building. The third phase may include a large event space built north of the phase one building.

The college's Washington County Center should break ground in late summer or early fall and potentially open as early as the fall semester 2019, Annette Tirey, the college's foundation director, told the committee.

Hight-Jackson Associates is designing the 35,000-square-foot facility, which will be built on 20 acres next to Arvest Ballpark and Arkansas Children's Northwest hospital.

A contractor hasn't been publicly named yet, but foundation officials are in the final negotiating stages with them, Tirey said.

Right now the college leases 25,000 square feet of space between three locations in Washington County.

"This will pull all of that together into a consolidated facility that is a true collegiate atmosphere for our students," Tirey said.

General education courses, Early College Experience Program classes for high school students earning college credits and various health profession courses will be offered at the center.

There will be sector forums set up so community members in health care and other industries can give advice on the Washington County center as it's being developed, Evelyn Jorgenson, college president, added.

NW News on 03/03/2018