Sacramento City College – Natural Sciences Building

HGA‘s Natural Sciences Building at Sacramento City College is a cutting-edge, student-centric facility with a traditional-meets-modern design, supporting equity goals and achieving LEED Gold certification.

  • area / size 54,574 sqft
  • Completed 2023
  • The HGA-designed Natural Sciences Building on the campus of Sacramento City College (SCC), is a state-of-the-art, flexible and student-centric facility providing science laboratories and related support spaces, general education classrooms, office space and connected outdoor environments for the SCC community while achieving the net-zero energy goal set by the college.

    The distinctive placement of the facility serves as a gateway to the SCC campus complete with an inviting outdoor plaza and seating options that encourage students to continue the learning experience when they are outside of the building. In addition to activating its prominent corner of the campus, the exterior of the Natural Sciences Building was designed with careful consideration to its broader context by integrating the brick into the architectural form that is consistent across this 97-year old campus.

    Architectural consistency was achieved by maintaining the classic brick walls and clay tile mansard roofs that have long unified the SCC campus. HGA merged these traditional elements of the building with technologically advanced design features as a nod to the cutting-edge technical components of the educational spaces within the facility. As a result, a metal panel was used to contrast the brick with a more contemporary style and, on the plaza side, glass with a pattern in between panes adds a modern flare.

    As a community college without an on-campus housing culture, a key priority for the college was determining the best way to expand social learning for students beyond the classroom. As a result, the first floor includes general education classrooms and instructor’s offices, open for all students to study, meet and engage with faculty. The entry floor also includes two tiered classrooms for large format sessions, a tutoring room next to faculty offices, and several activated spaces and alcoves with comfortable furniture for studying, socializing or resting between classes. Outside the first floor, the newly formed plaza area also functions as an outdoor classroom, putting science on display with a garden of planters for use as a teaching tool.

    Floors two and three are dedicated to the natural sciences with functional natural science labs large enough to accommodate both teaching and experimentation, complete with new storage spaces that were not a part of the former building. The design of these floors prioritizes high ceilings for an open, sophisticated environment with ample natural light and windows that take advantage of views of the nearby park. These floors also integrate several student-centric areas including social spaces for cohort work and quiet spaces for individual study. Classrooms and other educational spaces throughout the building are equipped with state-of-the-art technology to support hybrid teaching and learning.

    The design also supports SCC’s equity goals by improving its ADA features and making the building accessible to all. With a commuting student population, the design of the new building helps to create a comfortable home base that welcomes and engages students outside of class time, promoting equitable higher education options for the greater Sacramento area.

    Design: HGA
    Contractor: Broward Builders
    Electrical Engineering: The Engineering Enterprise
    Photography: Kyle Jeffers