Springfield Technical Community College — Ira H. Rubenzahl Student Learning Commons

Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) is located on 35 acres of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site. Building 19, one of thirteen campus buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was constructed between 1847 and 1863 as a munitions storehouse for the Revolutionary War-era armory. The goal of the project was to transform the unoccupied 100,000 SF building into a vibrant campus center – a hub for student services, resources, and activities.

Repurposing the historic munitions building presented numerous challenges including having an on-site archaeological team to monitor all excavations for artifacts. Energy modeling was used to bring the previously uninsulated building up to code and to preserve the existing masonry walls. Solutions included insulation under the roof and high-performance window glazing. The wood-framed building had limited cavity space with particularly narrow ceiling cavities making it extremely difficult to introduce ductwork, conduits, and lighting. Various design solutions included using a hydronic system, raising the floor to house electrical, fire protection, and heating pipes, and using wireless lighting controls in order to keep systems invisible. Old brick-lined drains were replaced with modern storm structures, separated from the sanitary system. The 764-foot-long, 55-foot-wide structure is like a “skyscraper on its side.” The length of the building particularly impacted the design of hot water systems. The building was ultimately divided into 4 quadrants for delivery of ventilation air. STCC’s Student Learning Commons honors the past while embracing new energy-efficient technology. The project was awarded LEED® Silver and has targeted to document a minimum 20% less water consumption compared to ASHRAE 90.1 2010 baseline.

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Location: Springfield, MA

Completion Date: 2018

Architects: Ann Beha Architects

Awards: LEED Silver 2019; 2018 ENR New England Best Project: K-12 Education, 2017 Honor Award-Excellence in Planning - Society for College and University Planning, 2019 Robert H. Kuehn Award - Preservation Massachusetts; 2019 Silver Winner - BD+C Reconstruction Awards; 2021 Higher Education Facilities Design Award - BSA