ACC selects Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects for Highland Phase II renovation

Design to begin on the region’s first Workforce Innovation Center

The Austin Community College District Board of Trustees selected Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects as the lead architect/engineering team in partnership with  Perkins+Will (BGK Architects/P+W) for Highland Campus Phase II during its regular meeting Monday, June 1.

“Phase II is an important part of the Highland Project and it’s vital that we continue the look, the feel, and the ambiance that’s already generated so much excitement at Highland Campus,” says Allen Kaplan, ACC board vice chair.

This is the second phase of the ACC Highland redevelopment project. BGK Architects oversaw Phase I, which converted the former JC Penney store into the ACC Highland Campus including the ACCelerator, the nation’s largest learning lab.

Trustees interviewed the firm along with two other finalists during individual presentations at its May meeting.

“Everyone in Austin seems to have some kind of connection to Highland Mall. ACC Highland has become a national model for sustainable, adaptive reuse,” says Jay Barnes, BGK Architects partner. “We look forward to renewing the community’s relationship with this iconic place in its new role providing innovative, quality education. We are thrilled to continue what we started four years ago, providing design excellence in support of ACC’s mission.”

Phase II, funded by voter-approved bonds, includes approximately 400,000 square feet of former mall space. ACC staff will decide on programming over the next few months. Plans include:

  • Creative Digital Media Center: A new creative media center will prepare students for jobs in the information technology and creative sectors – two critical components of the regional economy that increasingly are intertwined.
  • Health Sciences/STEM Regional Simulation Center: With the aging population nationwide and the new Dell Medical School locally, the demand for nurses and other healthcare workers is expected to grow.
  • Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management Center: By tripling its space for culinary arts instruction, ACC will be able to train more students faster for jobs in the food service industry – considered by some to be as vital to the local economy as the creative sector.
  • Continuing Education: ACC’s CE Division will have a significant presence at Highland Campus with spaces and labs to support expanded offerings in healthcare, culinary, cosmetology, and massage therapy.
  • Regional Workforce Center: A Regional Workforce Center will feature flexible space that can be quickly modified to provide customized training and/or manufacturing space for specific local job market needs.

The board next will review candidates for the construction manager at-risk for Phase II and is expected to award the project in August.

Preparation work is underway for pre-construction abatement on the 44-year old structure.

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