Oxnard College last month opened the doors on a new, 38,500-sq-ft student services center, which will help the campus expand to serve 11,500 students.

Barnhart BB, Nadel Complete Oxnard College Student Services Building
Photo: Y.K. Cheung Photography

Designed by West Los Angeles-based Nadel Architects, the $18 million structure serves as a campus focal point and a �foreground� building consolidating a number of administrative and student offices�including the cafeteria, student business office, admission and records, financial aid, career and transfer center, health services and disabled student services�into one convenient location on the 118-acre campus.

Barnhart Balfour Beatty was the general contractor on the project and the CM was Heery International.

�Our design was created to showcase an inviting space, the hub of campus interaction, that would draw visitors inside,� says Gregory Serrao, AIA, director of Nadel�s Public Sector Division. �The two-story window grid provides an exciting visual element that entices students to explore, and the exterior planes have been staggered to create a sense of place that will delight those who visit the campus for years to come.�

As one of the main structures on the campus, its central, foreground location along the quadrangle is sited to accommodate a future classroom building. Nadel says its approach to this highly visible location was to respect the scale of the surrounding older structures, as well as fully utilize the dominant materials used on those buildings. The building�s exterior materials, including colored masonry units, precast concrete and tinted glazing, are compatible with those of adjacent facilities to visually integrate the new construction into the overall campus environment.

In addition to acknowledging the Student Services Building�s surroundings, the design team also wanted to create a distinctive architectural presence. In accordance, a vertically accented glass atrium was developed to help establish an identity for the building.

�Although context and visual compatibility were very important aspects to the overall planning and design, the creation of an iconic presence, an element that could act as an organizing landmark or �wayfinding� feature, was another important aspect of the design,� says Michael Walden, Nadel�s director of design. �The atrium was created to serve that purpose, and can be seen from virtually anywhere on the campus.�

Designing the building to work within its site presented Nadel with some creative opportunities. For example, the separation of the food services building from the main building creates a courtyard and allows for pedestrian movement from the east side of the campus.

The center is the first newly constructed facility to open on the campus under the Ventura County Community College District�s Measure S bond construction program, a $356.3-million bond passed by Ventura County voters in 2002.