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American River College Parking Structure

Slideshow image for American River College Parking Structure
Slideshow image for American River College Parking Structure
Slideshow image for American River College Parking Structure

The Design Build team was awarded this project based on the unique design the team developed from the College's vision for the site. It was important to the College that the project did not look like a parking structure, but rather that it would make a striking architectural statement that connects with its surroundings and welcomes visitors to the college. They also needed a solution to mitigate modal conflicts on their thriving campus that serves thousands of students and faculty.

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Rather than a traditional façade, the Watry team designed a larger-than-life art installation featuring the college’s own football, tennis, baseball and track stars in action. Taking the form of three 30’ x 30’ durable, nylon fabric panels, the artwork literally provides a backdrop to the adjacent Athletic Center and enhances the architectural connection between it and the parking structure while showcasing campus culture. “Watry consistently took our suggestions and ran with them far beyond our expectations,” said Glenn Kaneyuki, Project Manager of the Los Rios Community College District.

In addition to achieving the College’s aesthetic goals, the creative graphic solution saved $140,000 from the original design. The team also developed an innovative structural solution. While the original geotechnical report called for a deep precast concrete pile foundation solution, the design build team developed an alternate solution that involved Rammed Aggregate Piers, which saved approximately $500,000 off the budget and 3 weeks off the demanding construction schedule. “[Watry Design] took critical on-site construction issues and fixed them in real time….without jeopardizing schedule or cost overruns,” praised Kaneyuk.

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With the design for the 1,724 stall, 5 level facility underway, the team turned to the pedestrian and vehicular flow, which was a critical component to the successful function of the garage. Recognizing the existing pedestrian routes etched into the landscape, the design build team developed a meandering pedestrian path and bridge that safely separates vehicles from pedestrians while simultaneously mitigating the scale of the garage. The new entry and exit roads to the parking structure travel under the new pedestrian bridge, which provided a safe solution and added a significant new feature to the College’s front door. A Grand Stair was developed where the main elevator core and pedestrian bridge meet. This created a sense of place and has become an icon on campus for gathering and wayfinding.

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A roundabout was designed to allow for a significant amount of traffic to intuitively access the parking structure, the south lot and the staff parking lot. There are two entry lanes and two exit lanes that feed to and from a newly added roundabout. Access to the parking structure is clearly marked for new patrons, along with a parking guidance system that indicates how many spaces are available at each floor. Signage directs visitors to different destinations outside the garage and assists when they return by indicating the path to the different user group parking areas.

In addition to providing much needed additional parking, the project's site improvements include a landscaped entry drive, realignment of the Staff Parking lot and North Campus access road, 12 tennis courts, site concrete, paving, landscaping and irrigation. The project’s sustainable features include energy efficient florescent lighting with sensors that is utilized throughout the parking structure, drought tolerant plants and an allowance for 49,400 sf of Photovoltaic panels over the top level, which is just over half the floor area.

Recipient of the 2015 International Parking Institute's Award of Excellence and the 2013 ACI Architecture Award.

Take a closer look at the challenges posed by this ambitious project and how Watry Design and Webcor Builders navigated them to achieve a successful outcome. 

Watry Design & Webcor Builders' American River College Parking Structure Design Build

Project Details