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Project File: From industry to education

Santiago Canyon College's Orange Continuing Education Center (OCEC), Orange, Calif., is housed in a former software chip manufacturing plant that has been renovated and restored. This expansive $17 million, 92,500-square-foot center features 21 classrooms. It also includes three technologically advanced computer labs, 40 faculty and staff offices, a multipurpose conference room, child-development center, bookstore and 370-spot parking lot.

The architecture incorporates natural light that cascades through vaulted sunroofed ceilings. Spacious hallways are made more inviting with seating and study alcoves. Computer labs are marked by glass windows that overlook the lobby and corridors of the building.

The OCEC provides free educational classes to more than 10,000 students annually. Because the need for continuing education in Southern California is at an all-time high, and the construction of the building could be done only during a short timeframe, the project needed to be completed quickly. The architect was chosen for the project because of its experience with college architecture and because of the firm's fast-track approach to construction and design. The OCEC broke ground in June 2004 and was completed in January 2005.

The architect is gkkworks (Newport Beach, Calif.).

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