COLLEGE OF THE DESERT
Indio Education Center
The College of the Desert opened in 1962 as the first institution of higher education in Coachella Valley. The College has off site instructional facilities in Mecca/ Thermal and Indio to further its outreach to the rapidly growing number of students in the Eastern Coachella Valley.
WHITIN DESIGN WORKS collaborated on the site plan with gkkworks, Architects, with the goal of creating an urban campus environment for this 2.5-acre satellite facility in downtown Indio. The building is sited at the back of the sidewalk establishing an urban edge along the public street. The East Valley Campus is a 40,000 SF, three-story building with classrooms, laboratories, multi-purpose and administrative space and 10,000 SF of retail space on the ground floor. A corner public plaza adjacent to the ground level retail space, the east/west breezeway connecting at mid-block through the building and the north/south pedestrian walk along botanical plantings provide a series of outdoor spaces for students and the public.
WHITIN DESIGN WORKS, the design team and the Board of Trustees participated in sustainability strategy charettes. Extensive shade studies to reduce the heat island effect in the extreme desert climate and product research were required to achieve LEED Silver accreditation. Project construction is scheduled for 2012.