Amarillo College teamed with PSC to renovate the 11,000-SF student commons lab in the basement of Ware Student Commons. This technology hub is furnished with the latest technology and sleek furniture for gathering and studying. Geometric prints and use of Amarillo College colors set the tone for a modern and comfortable learning environment.

The Underground is a part of a $2.2 million renovation including more than $300,000 in PC/Mac desktop and laptop computers, and audio and visual equipment upgrades. Several individual work stations, production rooms, both large and small collaboration rooms, 85-inch screens, high-quality printers, and many more amenities are included in this higher education project.

The Underground is accessible through the Ware Student Commons during regular business hours and plans are in place to have after-hours access to the building. A separate entrance outside is equipped with a LU/LA elevator providing ease of access for wheelchair and power-chair users.

Key design ideas included rebuilding the south entry stair to attract students 24/7 to descend below ground. The illuminated fin design provides a visible icon and supports the laser cut brand name “The Underground.” Three concepts pervade the design – safety, visibility and access. The angled study rooms with glazed walls allow visibility throughout the space. The identity of each study/gathering area is marked by color and ceiling material in the open space. Users feel safe as they can see and be seen in the long views. The most important goal of the project was to provide students with access to the tools they need to succeed. The Underground has over 100 workstations (including items to check-out), 2 production rooms, and flexible/comfortable furniture to support study and focus.

The design team aimed at a memorable and unique space to attract students and support the AC mission to support student success.

The Underground at Amarillo College from Parkhill, Smith & Cooper on Vimeo.