Itasca Community College
Liberal Arts Building
Grand Rapids, Minnesota
This project included demolishing an old building in the center of Itasca Community College’s (ICC) campus, rebuilding a new one, and remodeling a few spaces throughout the campus. The people at ICC wanted to incorporate elements of the surrounding northern Minnesota woods as well as the original building into the design of this new one. Obernel worked with Foss Architecture and Interiors on this project and was responsible for mechanical engineering, fire protection engineering, electrical engineering, lighting design and fire alarm.
The new building is mostly classrooms, but it also has space within it for informal group studying and lounging. In this area, there is a modern fireplace tucked into one of the corners. There are also beautiful corridors in which the architect incorporated beams from the original building into the new design. The floors have in-floor heat and standard VAV boxes for air flow.
One of the unique challenges for Obernel’s mechanical team was maintaining pressure in the building. This new building’s heat system is tied into ICC’s centralized campus boiler plant at the end of the line. An interesting challenge on the electrical side was designing around ICC’s campus network core switch and maintaining power disruption during construction. The design team met all B3 guidelines while overcoming these and other challenges. In the end, the building turned out beautiful and energy efficient.