Laurel Oaks Career Campus

Building Architecture- Large Scale (>10,000 sf)

Project Narrative

To promote lifelong learning, the goal of the Great Oaks Institute was to transform the traditional ‘corridor and classroom’ layout of the Laurel Oaks Career Campus into a connected community-focused center of learning.

Originally, the campus contained two distinct main buildings separated by an open plaza, lacking a clear primary entry point, and requiring students and faculty to travel outside throughout the day. The western building contained classrooms and technical high-bay labs, was difficult to navigate, and required students to walk through one space to access another. The eastern building contained classrooms, soft labs, community spaces, and administrative offices.

The solution was a series of strategic additions that served to create a single, unified facility while also completely transforming the overall identity of Laurel Oaks and greatly improving the buildings’ function and performance.

The primary Connector addition between the buildings contains administrative offices, student career development spaces, collaboration areas, and flexible project labs. The primary entry spine extends up and out toward the primary approach. The thin sloping roof, reminiscent of an airplane wing, pays homage to the site’s rich aviation history. The columns within the space are organized in an irregular pattern created by the intersecting grids of the two existing buildings. Playful angled structural elements, derived from airplane wing strut designs, support custom perforated panels overhead, created using wind maps of the area.

Additions to the north and south ends greatly improve movement through the building and access to the high bay labs. The additions incorporate branded graphics and color and infuse the space with natural light. The south addition façade minimizes glazing and incorporates horizontal fins to control sunlight and minimize views of the adjacent airport. In contrast, the north addition maximizes glazing and views out to the natural landscape vistas.


Project Details

Submission Category

Building Architecture- Large Scale (>10,000 sf)

Date of Completion

December, 2021

Submitting Firm Name

MSA Design

Project Cost


Project Team


Dwayne Boso, Chris Patek, Lauren Sharpe

Environmental Designer

Chelsea Sanders