Valencia College and Osceola County celebrate the groundbreaking for the new Poinciana Campus at 9 a.m. today.
The $27 million college, slated to open in the fall of 2017, was designed to showcase and enhance the landscape around it. The college will serve 2,500 degree-seeking students, as well an additional 1,000 students seeking job training.
In an interview last fall with GrowthSpotter, Campus President Kathleen Plinske said the 65,000-square-foot building would be completely solar powered and designed to capture and reuse rainwater. The goal is to exceed LEED gold standards and strive for a "net zero" energy effect.
Plinske said the Polytechnic Campus at Arizona State University in Mesa served as an inspiration for the "modern agrarian" style, particularly the use of perforated metal shade structures on the building's exterior.
The shade structures, which were modified into a grid pattern on the Poinciana building, filter the sunlight, improve energy efficiency and protect migratory birds.
Other architectural features include:
· An indoor/outdoor cafe area
· Native landscaping including Poinciana trees
· A two-story campus library with multiple settings for studying, group collaboration and tutoring. The library will be elevated into a "treehouse" concept to overlook the Poinciana trees in the courtyard to the west and the natural conservation to the east.
Osceola County donated the 19-acre site to the college as part of its nearly 400-acre College Station mixed-use planned development on the west shore of Lake Tohopalika. The county is in negotiations with Indiana-based Mainstreet Development to build a mix of multifamily/student housing, commercial space with ample parks, ballfields, a swimming pool and wellness center.
The three-story building will be the first campus in the Valencia system to have a classroom outfitted with video conferencing equipment that will allow students to enroll and participate in classes at other campuses.
The Poinciana campus will offer courses in culinary arts and hospitality management. It will have a full teaching kitchen.
Another feature unique to the campus is a 5,000-square-foot flexible "trades lab" that will host non-credit courses in various construction fields, such as drywall, flooring and masonry, or train students to be forklift operators.