The Center for Vocational and Transitional Studies is a new 46,669 SF three-story
facility which replaces four outdated buildings on campus. This building will house
the colleges’ Welding, Fabrication and Machining programs, College and Career Preparation
programs, Workforce, and Information Technology programs.
This design is based on the information and program contained in the Predesign Report
prepared for the College, dated March 23, 2022, OFM project number 40000106.
The project will be located at the existing Lot C parking lot on the east side of
campus along 15th Avenue. A new, similar sized parking lot will be constructed in
place of the demolished buildings to the west. The project will be completed in two
Phase 1 Demolition of parking Lot C, construction of the new building, access drives
to 15th north and south of the building, a perimeter drive around the building, and
parking south of the building, service utilities, underground burial of the existing
overhead power line and relocation of the campus water line, north of the new building.
Phase 2 Demolition of existing buildings, construction of the new parking lot.
Estimated project cost: $42,728,000.
Manufacturing has long been a vital part of the economic success in Washington State
and continues to be so. The wage and salary of manufacturing employment in Washington
State is currently close to 40% higher than the national average. Cowlitz County is
no exception, ranking among counties that have the highest rate of manufacturing employment
in the state. The Cowlitz County Economic Development Council predicts that “more
than 30,000 manufacturing jobs in the SW Washington-Portland region will need to be
filled in the next decade.” Lower Columbia College (LCC) has developed strong relationships
with local trades businesses and organizations, a vital link to the ongoing success
of integrating new employees into the workforce of Cowlitz County. LCC aims to increase
the support of students wanting to enter the trades that make up this sector of the
economy by continually improving its Vocational educational programs. LCC’s new Center
for Vocational and Transitional Studies (CVTS) will help provide employment opportunities
that exist in the Southwest Washington region by preparing students for these high
skills, family wage jobs. It will also provide a hub where educational programs and
the private sector can interact and develop beneficial relationships.
In addition, the State of Washington has recognized the need to support new and continuing
students by providing programs to prepare them to enter college level courses, vocational
or technical programs, or the workplace. The CVTS will also house its College and
Career Preparation programs, which provides educational opportunities for students
to increase their skills in preparation for college curriculum courses.
Close to one-third of the students currently enrolled at LCC are working on college
preparatory skills through College and Career Preparation (CCP), English Language
Learning (ELL), Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST), and General
Education Development (GED).
Needs and Solutions
The college’s professional-technical programs are currently preparing students for
careers in machine trades, manufacturing, welding, and information technology. However,
the existing facilities for the vocational education and College and Career Preparation
programs are old, failing, crowded and unsafe. They lack adequate capacity to serve
program needs, current or future enrollment demand. These outdated facilities are
currently preventing the college from meeting the educational workforce demand. The
CVTS will replace four aged and outdated buildings with a new, modern and safe, and
right-sized facility. The new facility will expand space for formal and informal learning
to serve the needs of the college’s Vocational and Information Technology programs.
The center will also provide space for growth and the addition of new trade programs
such as mechatronics. These new facilities will be constructed with health and safety
as paramount considerations, meeting or exceeding current requirements for safe working
spaces, personal protection and ventilation.
College and Career Preparation programs will be consolidated into a welcoming and
supportive environment that starts with a “welcome desk” that will provide orientation
for students. Classrooms will be designed with flexibility in mind, allowing for the
widest variety of learning activities to occur with minimum of compromises, and ample
access to technology will be provided. These new spaces will increase the level of
support LCC gives new and continuing students in preparing them for college level
courses and promoting career opportunities.
The CVTS supports the college’s goal of building and enhancing partnerships with local
businesses and organizations by providing opportunities for exposure and collaboration.
The building is designed to encourage access to classroom and lab spaces to facilitate
professional training and demonstration activities. A large, flexible classroom can
be opened directly to the atrium with an overhead door to allow equipment to be brought
in, and can be used for training, demonstrations, and events, bringing together students
and prospective employers. The labs will also allow vendors access to bring equipment
in for temporary training setups. The benefits of this project tie directly into the strategic initiatives and core
themes of Lower Columbia College. The project will help bridge the gap between community,
industry, and education by providing learning environments that encourage formal and
informal learning, outreach, and collaboration with local business, organizations,
and the greater Cowlitz County community.
LOWER COLUMBIA COLLEGE (LCC)
EXECUTIVE ARCHITECT | MSGS ARCHITECTS
DESIGN ARCHITECT | ROVELSTAD ARCHITECTS
CTE LAB CONSULTANT | RGU ARCHITECTURE
SPECIFICATIONS | CITE SPECIFIC
HAZARDOUS MAT'LS SURVEY | ABATEMENT DESIGN PBS ENGINEERING + ENVIRONMENTAL
CIVIL ENGINEERING | KPFF CONSULTING
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT | KAREN KIEST LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER | PCS STRUCTURAL SOLUTIONS
MECHANICAL & ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS | INTERFACE ENGINEERING
SUSTAINABILITY CONSULTANT | O'BRIEN 360
GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING | NV 5
COST ESTIMATING | PROJECT DELIVERY ASSOCIATES (PDA)
Delayed: Construction funding was not provided in the 2023/25 WA State capital budget
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