EdCampus to offer hub for adult learners, businesses

EdCampus plans to serve as a model for a multi-purpose, multi-user campuses that serve the needs of adult students and employers alike.

Our very own CC Sullivan wrote today about the sometimes zany but usually innovative approaches to design and learning in the education sector of architecture. He pointed to the zoo school in Apple Valley, Minnesota, as an example of nature-centered design.

Another educational campus is currently being developed in the nearby Twin Cities suburb of Chaska. But instead of focusing on environmental studies for high schoolers, this facility, called EdCampus, is meant to serve as a campus for a variety of higher educational purposes and audiences.

Meant in part to serve the employee training needs of the many biotech companies sprouting up in the Twin Cities region, EdCampus will comprise nearly 70 acres and cost $217 million. Developers expect the campus to serve up to 6,500 students per day.

But more than just job training, the vision for EdCampus is to be a place to serve all types of adult learning. The design is meant to add to this element of versatility. Much of the 325,000 square feet of classroom space will be customizable and configured with a technology backbone to accommodate whatever media users want to use as part of their curricula. Plus, the campus will include space for retail, corporate training spaces, formal lectures and outdoor classroom space.

Lighting company Redwood Systems announced this week that it will provide a networked LED lighting system for the campus. These energy-efficient lights will serve to help the developers seek Platinum LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Counsel for the campus.

The hope is that EdCampus will emerge as a prototype for this kind of rent-a-college business model, where a single facility can serve the learning needs of many academic and professional institutions. But first, it needs to get built. Ground was to have been broken on the project way back in 2008. As the recession fades, progress should begin.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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