DPR Parlays Diverse Market Expertise To Tap Growth Potential in Educational Sector

In Host of Markets, DPR Brings Experience to Bear on Multifaceted School Projects

Computer and high-tech facilities, healthcare, lab and research spaces, and mission critical and corporate office construction are just some of the markets in which DPR has demonstrated its expertise over the years. Recently, several DPR offices have begun leveraging that experience base to increasingly tap into the growth potential for educational institutions, given the trend for schools to incorporate a range of project types under their roofs as they seek to remain competitive in the 21st century.

Butte Community College

In Sacramento, DPR recently kicked off construction of a three-building, 76,000-sq.-ft. expansion to the Butte Community College in Oroville, CA. The project, to provide the college with new Allied Health/ Public Services and Public Safety instructional facilities, will include a detailed mock-up of a hospital ward, computer facilities and law library, among other elements.

“We have been building healthcare facilities, corporate campuses and high-tech telecom properties in this area for many years,” says Brad Des Jardin. “While set within an educational institution, this project incorporates aspects of all three types of construction. Our demonstrated knowledge of these areas will be key to our success at Butte College.”

The Butte College facility will include two steel and cast-in-place concrete structures with metal panel and glass exteriors. The two-story, 59,050-sq.-ft. north building will provide a mock hospital ward, respirator lab, courtroom and law library, as well as a building-inspection laboratory and classrooms for the college’s nursing, emergency medical technician and police training programs. The single-story, 13,330-sq.-ft. south building will house computer labs, driving simulator labs and a simulated shooting range and will incorporate cutting-edge fire protection systems typically found in telecom facilities. The third building, the 4,280-sq.-ft., single-story Public Safety building, will include equipment maintenance areas for firefighter and police training and locker rooms.

“We’re thrilled to be working with DPR,” says Dr. Sandy Acebo, the Butte-Glenn Community College District Superintendent/President. “This is the first new instructional building that has been built on our campus since the early 1970s and, as a result, it is even more important to us that this project is done right. We couldn’t have asked for a better partner to build the platform we’ll use to bring state-of-the-art police, fire, health, nursing, and emergency medical technician programs to Butte and Glenn Counties.”

DPR’s initial challenge is to finish enclosing the buildings before winter rains begin as it works to turn the project over to Butte College within a tight, 14-month schedule.

Art Institutes and Public Schools

In DPR’s Newport Beach office, two newly completed projects and another slated to begin next June also illustrate the company’s growing foray into school construction.

At Otis College of Art & Design in Westchester, DPR recently wrapped up a challenging 10-month construction schedule on a two-story, 40,000-sq.-ft. new Fine Arts Complex, which will serve both as studios and classrooms for art students, as well as a gallery space for their artwork. The steel-framed structure’s exterior features cement board panels set next to a contrasting corrugated aluminum siding.

Inside, second-story glass floors, along with skylights and two open glass-enclosed courtyards, allow light to permeate the space. A glass elevator outside the building’s floor plan, highlighted by wraparound steps and canopy, provides another architectural accent for the structure, designed by Frederick Fisher & Partners of Santa Monica.

On the recently completed Art Institute of Los Angeles project, DPR’s adaptability proved critical. Working in a design assist capacity with architect Del DeRevere & Associates on the first part of this two-phase assignment, DPR completed the shell and buildout of classroom and library spaces. In the second phase, DPR was given the task of completing a 17,000-sq.-ft. tenant improvement project, which had no architect. DPR’s Kay Kim notes that the team worked from just a standardized blueprint outlining classroom and culinary kitchen spaces. “We provide a lot of flexibility with a client like this, who just has a kind of cookie cutter figure to go on,” she says. In addition, DPR has been able to leverage its continuous knowledge base in working for this owner on additional Art Institute facilities in other regions, including San Francisco and San Diego.

With an expansion to the Yeshiva University Girl’s High School slated for mid-2002 and other potential projects on the horizon, including work DPR is pursuing at UC Santa Barbara, the school market offers promising growth opportunities. DPR’s Tyler Dubberly, who worked on the Otis College project, sees a strong potential. “I think public education can be a huge market for DPR,” he concludes.