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Waterloo Career Center
Waterloo, IA

The Board of Education worked with INVISION to plan the Waterloo Career Center with the goal of expanding the possible career pathways for Waterloo students.  Project planning was a collaborative effort that included tours of education and business partner facilities culminating in a space program that informed the design strategy and supported flexible active 21st Century learning components.

The Waterloo Career Center includes a minor single story addition and a major interior renovation to an existing middle school. The program is being located in a centrally located district building that is under populated. The design supports 15 new Career Training programs in spaces ranging from high-bay labs to collaborative classrooms for cross-disciplinary education. The design is intentionally flexible as programs will adjust as demand changes. Planning was based on programs such as Electrical, Construction and Advanced Manufacturing. Other lab spaces include Information Technology, CAD Academy, Graphics, Digital Media, Biology, Nursing and EMS. Culinary training is the one program with a specialty lab.  LEARN MORE

Total Renovated Area
77,000 SF
Cladding Material
Weathered Steel
Number of New Training Programs
Managing Architect
Kate Payne

The project encompasses roughly 77,000 gross square feet of renovation and includes a small addition of nearly 3,500 square feet. The addition location was selected to serve as a key indicator for entry into the new career center from the major traffic artery to the northeast. The existing masonry facility was constructed in the 1970s and offers very little natural daylight to the interior. A major goal of the project is to deploy daylighting strategies that infuse natural light into the interior.

The small addition is clad in weathered steel panels with exposed steel structure, highlighting the raw aesthetic of the overall project. The weathered steel office cube is balanced by expansive glass curtain wall that allows views out but also invites viewing in from the exterior at night. The addition serves as an entry jewel, emitting light from within, for the new Career Center.

TEAM MEMBERS: Jason DeVries, Julie Etheredge, Kindra Christiansen, Cody MillsBecca BaumBrad Leeper


INVISION enabled us to think outside the box and create something unique - allowing us to be part of the process while guiding and listening along the way. It was an amazing collaborative and creative process that INVISION delivered.
- Shanlee McNally Board President - Waterloo Community School District
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