Center for Advanced Technology at Mohonasen Schenectady, NY
Multifunctional STEM Education Center
As a joint venture between Mohonasen Central School District, Schenectady County Community College, and the Capital Region BOCES, the 52,700-square-foot Center for Advanced Technology is transforming the career trajectory of local high school and college students, as well as adult learners, and building a pipeline of skilled workers for local industries.
A Forward-Thinking Program
CSArch worked closely with each stakeholder to understand how to successfully blend traditional learning and programs – vocational, high school, community college – into a multifunctional school building. The result is an innovative, forward-thinking educational setting that meets the region’s need for “real-world” work environments. The state-of-the-art laboratories and 21st century learning spaces introduce high schoolers to collegiate environments while meeting the multi-disciplinary needs of college credit-bearing and workforce development programs.
Through architecture, engineering, and interior design services, CSArch created a variety of career and technical educational environments, including laboratories and classrooms for:
- machining and manufacturing
- alternative energy and photovoltaic systems
- health care/health professions
- wood working
The project also uniquely includes a black-box theatre for dance, TV/video production, and theatre classes/performances along with an adjacent graphic arts computer lab to broaden students’ exposure beyond the typical “tech” curriculum. These spaces incorporate state-of-the-art equipment that workers use in today’s workplaces.
Balancing Site and Strategy
The physical site is adjacent to the Mohonasen CSD High School, allowing students to easily navigate between buildings with limited transportation between the new facility and existing buildings.
The unique shape of the site governed the design of the building, with powerline easements and nearby wetlands defining the triangular piece of land. The design team also resolved unique sound challenges through creative design:
- With Interstate 90 just south of the site, the building was designed with special sound-proofing materials.
- Taking sound into consideration, noisier classroom spaces were purposefully positioned along the side of the building nearest the highway.
- The quieter spaces, including all general classrooms, were placed along the opposite side.
- The design team’s acoustic consultant incorporated acoustic rated doors and windows as well.
Merit Award, 2017 Design Awards Program
American Institute of Architects Eastern New York