By Michelle Wagner | Outer Banks Voice on October 10, 2020
With demolition of the former College of the Albemarle (COA) building well underway, the Manteo Board of Commissioners received an Oct. 7 briefing on the interior and exterior design features of the new building that will most certainly become the hub of community college life on the Dare COA campus.
Angie Crawford of Boomerang Architects unveiled details of the two-story 30,000-square-feet, state-of-the-art facility slated to be ready for students possibly as early as the Spring of 2022. Construction of the building is expected to begin in February of 2021, with site work beginning later this fall.
“The goals for this facility were, number one, to become a first choice for higher education,” Crawford told the commissioners. “We really want this to be a facility that the students in Dare County want to attend, and really wanted to create a true community college campus…I don’t think anyone will deny that this facility is going to become front and center in your community.”
The new building will replace the more than 60-year-old COA building that was originally the home of Manteo High School, then Manteo Middle School, and finally, COA. Once complete, the building will include all the offices, programs and services that are currently at the Russell Twiford Road site.
As well as classrooms and office space, the facility will feature a commons area, lecture and multi-purpose room, learning resource center, testing center, collaboration areas as well as science and computer labs. It will also have a second-floor outdoor terrace. Outdoor features include patios and dining areas, an amphitheater space, as well as biking and pedestrian-friendly opportunities.
The new space will be used to host programs in a number of fields, including hospitality, property management, nursing and certified nursing assistant training, sciences, carpentry, public safety and basic law enforcement training and firefighting.
Crawford told the commissioners that other goals in designing the building include the creation of an interior environment that encourages students to connect and gather in and out of the classrooms.
“This is critical for the development of students, it is critical for the growth of the campus and creating that campus pride,” Crawford said. “We want to brand the campus and create that community pride and school spirit.”
During the design phase, Crawford noted that features of other significant structures in Manteo were taken into consideration and incorporated into the design, including the Roanoke Island Marshes Light House and Pioneer Theater.
“We really looked at a lot of what makes Manteo great, and tried to develop that into the facility,” she asserted, adding that the building’s eave brackets, the roofline and cross bracing are all reminiscent of Manteo architecture.
Noting features like solar shading and positioning of the building to allow for natural light, Crawford said one aim of the design was to make it as sustainable as possible. The interior of the building will incorporate plenty of woods to give it a natural feel to building.
In between the new building and the Professional Arts building, there will be a courtyard environment. “Anyone can walk straight on campus anytime,” Crawford said. “We really want community to engage on the site with students.”
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