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Home | AUSTIN | Featured Project | Leander gets community college

Leander gets community college

image ACCD’s San Gabriel Campus, Leander, TX

AUSTIN - The Austin Community College District San Gabriel campus is the first major development in the City of Leander’s Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) that was established to create a space where residents can live within close walking distance of their essential needs, including retail, schools, parks, open space, transit stops, and employment.



    Working in conjunction with Capital Metro, the region’s transit authority, the district has officially opened its new San Gabriel campus to students seeking higher education options without leaving their community.
    American Constructors was the construction manager on the new campus, which will initially accommodate up to 2,500 students. The project is expected to anchor future development within the TOD and serves as a hub for community engagement.
    The campus consists of classrooms and laboratories, a 150-seat ‘ACCelerator’ learning lab integrated with a library and tutoring areas, multi-purpose rooms for community use, and open spaces for studying and gathering, including a 3,900-sf rooftop terrace.
    To solidify the sense of place in this iconic project for the City of Leander, the design team (Pfluger Architects, SmithGroupJJR, Structures Structural Engineers, and Shah Smith & Associates) added specific features as a nod to the city’s heritage as an old ranching community. To underscore the priority of project sustainability, the District expressed a deep interest in being good stewards of the water on site. Three 30,000-gallon water collection tanks were custom-designed to mimic the look of old grain silos. The tanks are fed by a siphonic system via aquaducts for rainwater storage but also serve a dual purpose in providing storm water retention capacity. Bio-retention ponds known as ‘rain gardens’ provided additional storm water retention capacity. These were placed strategically throughout the site and on the rooftop terrace in lieu of a single, concentrated detention pond. The landscaping for the San Gabriel campus was also thoughtfully chosen to support the migratory monarch butterfly population as a Certified Monarch Waystation – a rare consideration on typical project sites.
    Sustainability is a priority for the Austin Community College District, and as a result of these combined project features, American Constructors was able to construct a campus that satisfied the requirements to receive LEED Silver certification.
    When fully realized, the San Gabriel campus master plan will comprise 17  academic and community buildings, including a YMCA and an early college high school. The construction of the San Gabriel campus itself in Phase One sets the tone of urban design for the rest of the development.

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Author Info
Carol Wiatrek meditor@constructionnews.net