Engineering Student Success

Joe Duggan, Communications

April 13, 2022

When Tulsa Community College decided to redefine the student experience by creating student success centers, renovating existing buildings on its primary campuses made perfect sense. So did bringing Olsson on board to help ensure the centers live up to the promise of their new names.

Recruited by GH2 Architects, Olsson has provided mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) designs for the Hardesty Student Success Center at Tulsa Community College (TCC) West Campus. The college has also retained GH2 Architects and Olsson to design student success centers on the Metro and Northeast campuses, where work remains ongoing.



It’s part of a broad campaign by TCC to remove barriers and revolutionize the student experience on all four of its main campuses in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The first of the centers, on the Southeast Campus, was completed in 2019.

Our MEP consultants have created custom designs for climate control, lighting, power, and low voltage cabling for the centers on the remaining three campuses.

“These spaces are truly focal points for each campus,” said Dustin Vogt, leader of Olsson’s MEP team in Oklahoma. “The centers are designed to be welcoming and functional while providing value to the college, students, and community they serve.”



More Power and Light

For the West Campus center, our MEP designers remapped electrical wiring and low voltage cabling. We also added more wall outlets and power drops to better utilize open space to keep the staff, students, and all their devices, connected.

As for the lighting, our design aimed to save utility costs without sacrificing the lumens needed to minimize eye strain and keep the space inviting and functional.



Improved Climate Control

Retrofitting the existing heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system, rather than completing a total replacement, was necessary to fit the project budget. We analyzed each air-handling unit to ensure it would properly distribute the HVAC load, an essential step for efficiency.

Next, we designed a way to connect the HVAC network of ducts and returns to the newly renovated space.

Carter Johnson, one of our senior MEP engineers, designed the connections without the aid of original building plans (a common situation with renovations). He popped ceiling tiles, drew sketches, and sleuthed out the hidden air distribution system. Ultimately, however, the process involved a bit of highly educated guesswork.

“When the contractor comes in with the sledgehammer, we find out if we were right,” Dustin said before breaking into a smile, “there were no surprises – we were right.”



Removing Barriers

TCC dedicated its beautifully renovated West Campus center in late 2021. The updated facility – funded by a $1 million gift from the Hardesty Family Foundation – provides a central location where students discover career pathways, secure scholarships and financial aid, and enroll in classes.

Instead of being stopped by a row of counters and long lines, students now easily and quickly navigate the center to obtain the help they need.

“Every effort to remove a barrier, either physical or financial, increases student success and the number of graduates,” Dr. Leigh Goodson, TCC president and CEO, said at the West Campus center dedication.

Olsson is proud of our role in improving TCC’s West Campus facility and the two centers to follow. We are dedicated to making sure the reinvented spaces are as hard-working and successful as the college’s students and staff.