The Student Success Center at Bellevue College is a modern community space and work environment that encapsulates the college’s spirit and values. By studying the existing campus; by gathering insights from the full ecosystem of building users and stakeholders; by facilitating the change management from the old space, to a new, modern work environment, we’ve designed a facility that will support and inspire students and staff for years to come.
The interiors for the Student Success Center create intentional paths of discovery, reflection, and connection with others. Through the concept of “ascent,” we parallel the journey of a student’s collegiate experience with that of a mountain hike: the celebration of reaching top and the discovery that occurs along the way.
Our programming of the building recalls the concept of “ascent” with entry services located on the first floor, Student Support services throughout their time at BC on the second floor, and the Students Success on the top floor. Given the SSC’s prominent location on campus, the top floor makes the perfect event space. Here in the Commons, rising above the Bellevue campus, students, staff, and visitors are treated to expansive views of downtown Bellevue and Seattle while they celebrate their achievements, strengthen personal connections, and prepare for their futures.
The old building was defined by long lines, small, crowded spaces, and unclear circulation, so our design of the new center uses tactile details to help students move through the building’s open, vertical circulation. Light and warm colors guides students to areas where they can find assistance. Special areas are carved out to give students a moment to pause, reflect, and take it all in, such as enlarged landings on the accent stairway, an intimate seating space tucked beneath it. These places also give students plenty of spaces to be seen and have serendipitous, spontaneous encounters with other students and staff.
Throughout the design process, we served as advocates for each department, making them each active participants in the design process. The new workspaces in the Student Success Center accommodate each group’s unique needs, joined by shared priorities of flexible working areas, inspiring collaboration spaces, and an environment filled with daylight. Departments that previously operated separately, are now strategically connected to enhance every student’s experience and access to educational opportunities.