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Jun212017

Creating a Space for Community

 
 
 
At the center of Delaware Technical Community College's Stanton campus, Sikora Wells Appel gave new life to a 13,000 square foot courtyard. The renovations were completed in spring 2016. The upper patio area has metal barstool seating adjacent to the stainless steel railing that was custom built for the project. LED lighting is integrated throughout the courtyard, including color-changing options for the canopy.
 
Landscape Architecture by Sikora Wells Appel

Delaware Technical Community College, the state's only community college, has four campuses. The Stanton campus opened in 1973, and in spring of 2016 renovated a 13,000 square foot space located in the heart of the campus. 

The college is undergoing several improvement projects to upgrade and expand their facilities to be more efficient, progressive and sustainable. Located in an important hub of the campus, adjacent to the student center, bookstore and dining hall, the courtyard was unattractive, underutilized and lacked a sense of place. The space was primarily used as a pedestrian cut-through, as it was not inviting as a destination to linger and enjoy. Pavements, walls, plantings, and furnishings were dated and in poor condition. There were also severe drainage issues.

Working with the architect and civil engineer, the landscape architects at Sikora Wells Appel led the $2 million courtyard renovation. The intent was to create a destination for students, staff and faculty to enjoy on campus. The courtyard provides a variety of seating elements and garden spaces to accommodate dining, studying, events, or just lounging. 

One of the most prominent features of the new courtyard is the centrally located sculptural steel canopy, intended to provide shade and protection from the elements as well as create a covered space for performances and events. The canopy is lit with changeable LED colored lights that can transform the space for evening use.



The rain garden, planted with red cardinal flowers amongst other native plants, is separated from the rest of the courtyard by an ipe bridge. Drainage was a major consideration; rainwater falls from the steel canopy to a bed of stones from which it filters into the garden. Any stormwater that does not infiltrate the rain garden overflows to a conventional stormwater system.

 

Other courtyard improvements include terraced ipe wood benches, an ipe deck that doubles as a performance space, a radial concrete bench with ipe top, a dining terrace with flexible seating and bar tops overlooking the courtyard, a bluestone patio with movable seating, integrated boulders and plantings, an artificial turf outdoor classroom area, a rain garden with footbridge, and lush plantings throughout the garden and terraces. The space offers several options for shaded and sunny seating so that students, staff, and faculty can enjoy the courtyard year-round. 

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