Wisconsin College Brings Natural Environment Indoors

By SCN Staff

MADISON, Wis.—The new $24 million Goodman South Campus of Madison Area Technical College (Madison College)—which opened last fall—is unique in that it incorporates biophilic-inspired elements, an earth tone palette, regional materials and other local character found throughout Madison College’s additional campuses around the state.

Designed by Plunkett Raysich Architects, the 93,000-square-foot facility brings a sense of the natural outside environment to this indoor space. When designing the school, the firm selected Rockfon’s ceiling systems in an oak woodgrain finish to create the distinctive overhead appearance.

Presenting the look of actual wood without the associated weight and maintenance, a metal wood finish was applied to Rockfon’s metal Planar® linear ceilings and matching Infinity perimeter trim.

Miron Construction was the general contractor on this impressive project. Contractor Central Ceiling Systems, Inc. installed approximately 4,000 square feet of linear metal ceiling systems, fashioning them into both straight and curved shapes, and accommodating recessed light fixtures.

Suspended ceiling clouds appear to float above the upper loft area and mimic the circular lights of the main floor’s café below. These large, open common areas promote a welcoming space for students and community to come together.

In the classroom corridors, the ceilings are installed as rectangular sections to break up what could have otherwise been long, monotone stretches of hallway.

Throughout the building, transparency and daylight enhance the openness and a connection to both the surrounding community and natural environment. Expandable and accessible community rooms and classrooms create an inviting multi-use facility. Flexible furniture and room dividers allow rooms to be configured as needed to fit the use of the building.
The Goodman South Campus building contains 34 classrooms for instruction in STEM and IT related fields, hands-on learning labs, a library and multiple computer areas. Nursing students are taught in a simulated hospital environment with interactive mannequins and medical equipment.

The new building is more than six times the size of the college’s current Village on Park location. The campus serves as an entry point for south side residents to receive high-demand skilled job training, earn an associate’s degree or start a path toward a bachelor’s degree. An early college STEM academy also is offered for high school juniors and seniors in the Madison Metropolitan School District.

Along with providing quality education to an underserved area of Wisconsin, Madison College intended the building as a showcase for the college and the community, and as a successful example of public-private partnerships. Construction of the campus was funded with private donations, and honors Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman—namesakes of the foundation that contributed a lead gift of $10 million to construct the campus.

The college serves more than 30,000 students throughout a 12-county district in south-central Wisconsin, offering nearly 180 diverse career programs, diplomas, and certificates. Madison College is the second-largest institution in the Wisconsin Technical College System.

“Building a new campus in south Madison isn’t about Madison College. It’s about serving a population that has been historically underrepresented and marginalized,” said Madison College Dr. Jack E. Daniels III, in a statement.

“It’s about answering the call to break the multigenerational cycle of poverty for south side residents and opening the door to a future of possibilities that have escaped the reality of those who live here.”