The Eastern Wake 4.0 Campus as envisioned in the 2020 Masterplan for the 105-acre virgin site will be a comprehensive facility that fosters various levels of connection. Located in an underserved portion of eastern Wake County, the site is planned to ultimately provide approximately 700,000 gross square feet of building area and 600,000 square feet of outdoor training areas. These are the tenets outlined for the new eastern Wake County Campus by Wake Tech:
Connecting access to programs in an important area of need within Wake county
Connecting high quality, affordable education to new technology and workforce training
Connecting businesses and industry partners with educational programs and efforts.
In the last year, Wake Tech has begun the process of developing this plot of land in eastern Wake County with three design & construction projects — the Central Energy Plant Facility, the Public Safety Center, and the General Education 1 and Student Services Building (GEB). To support these tenets and fulfill the Campus mission of Connection, BSA is designing the new GEB. As the third facility on this new Campus, the GEB will be the hub for users and visitors because of the centralized administrative services that will be housed in the building. Reinforcing this concept is the location of the GEB along the northern side of the Campus Helix. Framing the green space to the south, the GEB will be the backdrop and face for gatherings on the outdoor Helix Green.
Designing a facility that reinforces the Masterplan goals of Connection is vitally important. Therefore, in the Advanced Planning stage of the project, BSA worked with stakeholders to clarify the essential project drivers. The identified drivers that will be used throughout the project to prioritize design decisions are:
For each of these drivers, the team noted specific qualities that can be utilized to evaluate the success at meeting the design intent of each of the drivers.
In the case of the Student Focused driver, the stakeholders expressed a strong desire for an environment that allows for an inclusive platform that caters to all types of students and learning styles; provides amenities that encourage students to remain on campus; and fosters intentional student engagement. Similarly, the Welcoming driver defines requirements to establish a “front porch” or gateway to the new campus; inspire a sense of place and belonging; and instill a feeling of identity and pride. Each of the five drivers has similar specific requirements for evaluating project success, but all are focused on creating an environment that builds Connections.
For Wake County, North Carolina the development of this new 4.0 Campus is a welcome addition to the one area where the college was lacking a physical presence. Through the design of the GEB, BSA will provide a flexible, high-performing environment for Eastern Wake County that provides multiple levels of opportunity for individual growth, advancement, and Connection.