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Project File: From the curriculum up

The new Romeo Engineering & Technology Center (RETC), Romeo, Mich., offers career and technical-education programs. The 90,288-square-foot facility accommodates up to 720 students in grades 9 to 12. RETC also hosts a number of community education programs.

The new facility offers various career-preparatory, technical-education and general academic programs.

The building's design evolved through an interactive planning phase based on a set of educational specifications prepared by a committee of district administrators, teachers and community members. The committee met weekly to explore adjacencies of key spaces and to examine opportunities to ensure that the building would support the school's specialized curriculum.

“Our teachers were all experienced, and they knew what they were doing,” says Gary Wilke, RETC director. “They were very careful, especially because we had a tight budget. The design reflects everything that the planning spelled out.”

RETC's design features generous ceiling heights, exposed systems and a high-tech industrial aesthetic. The building also is designed to simulate a business setting with warm, subdued colors, drywall, office furniture and sophisticated lighting.

A large, open commons area and cafe serve as multipurpose gathering spots. Students and community members have expressed appreciation for the building's welcoming, non-institutional interior spaces.

The architect for this project is Fanning/Howey Associates, Inc. (Williamston, Mich.)

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