When Dallas-based Mountain View College leadership decided to consolidate student services into one facility, they also saw an opportunity to create a clearly identifiable landmark to bring attention to the campus.

Campus leaders felt that passing motorists were unaware of the college’s existence.

“The 1970s architecture complex is on a wooded and below-grade site compared to the streets surrounding it,” Mountain View College President Felix A. Zamora tells Texas Construction. That left the campus virtually invisible to motorists passing the 300-acre site every day.

Zamora says that during the selection process for the architects, campus leaders tuned into how aspirant architects placed the building on the site and proposed to take advantage of a new building to distinguish the campus.

Ultimately selected PSA Dewberry [of Dallas] “because they understood our desire to create a focal point,” Zamora says. The firm presented various structures that would be visible from roads around the college, he says.

The design for the new 68,000-sq-ft Student Services Building allowed the college to maintain its original exterior finishes while creating a focal point that could be seen from nearby major roadways.

The result is an MVC brand/logo tower.

The $16.6-million project opened in the fall. It earned the National Institute of Steel Detailing Project of the Year for 2009 for Class One structures up to 500 tons. The general contractor was Fort Worth-based Steele & Freeman. As well, the fabricator was Structural Fabrications of Evansville, Ind., and the steel detailer was Dallas-based M.D. Bowers Inc.