According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the demand for registered nurses (RNs) is expected to result in approximately 587,000 new jobs between 2006 and 2016. Consequently, there is an increased requirement for medical training facilities. To help address this need, Clackamas Community College (CCC) in Oregon City, Ore., recently constructed the Center for Health Education, a state-of-the-art $14.5 million training center for nurses, dental hygienists, and other health care professionals.

Located on CCC's newly redeveloped Harmony campus in Milwaukie, Ore., the 46,000-sq-ft three-story facility includes classrooms, laboratories, and a college bookstore, as well as areas for student services and community education. What distinguishes the building from similar structures, however, is its host of sustainable design features.

“Lighting levels in classrooms and public spaces are controlled by daylight sensors, with optional manual override,” says Mark Peckover, an associate for Seattle-based Sparling, the company chosen to provide electrical and lighting design for the Center for Health Education. “In addition, we connected the lighting control system to the building management system to coordinate shutdown schedules with the HVAC night setbacks. Additionally, we are communicating the status of the lighting control zones and light levels from the photocells through a BACNET connection. At this time, CCC is planning to utilize this information to enhance their performance trending of the HVAC system.”

To further reduce energy consumption, photocells were used in stairwells to control lighting, and high-performance windows with low-e glazing were installed to minimize heat gain while maximizing light transmission. Exterior sunscreens also help diminish heat gain and glare, as does the light colored roof.

“The outside light fixtures were chosen to decrease light trespass from the building and site, reduce sky glow, and lessen their impact on nocturnal environments,” adds Peckover.

Other sustainable elements include a high-efficiency irrigation system that reduces the amount of water needed for landscaping and the use of low-maintenance, durable materials such as cast-in-place concrete, brick, and metal for the building's exterior. A propane-fired standby generator is equipped with EPA Tier II emissions control system.

What made this project unique for Sparling, according to Peckover, was the inclusion of a nursing lab with high-tech simulators, patient beds, and electronic mannequins that was designed to resemble an actual hospital, with patient rooms positioned around a central nurse's station.

“Not only does this building contain spaces traditionally found on college campuses, but it also contains a number of features commonly seen in a hospital or medical office,” he says. “This meant we had to look at Art. 517 of the NEC as well as the AIA Guidelines for Health Care Facilities to establish some of the design standards for those rooms.”

Despite this challenge, the Center for Health Education project finished on time and under budget.

“This facility is the start of a new multi-building campus for CCC,” notes Peckover. “Sparling is excited to be part of the school's expansion.”