MCC-Penn Valley to get an outdoor learning space

June 16, 2022 | Tim Engle

PV Learnscape


An "outdoor classroom" will make its debut on the MCC-Penn Valley campus later this year.

The project is compliments of Hollis + Miller Architects, which donates an outdoor learning space to a local school each year. This is the initiative's 10th year but the first time a higher education institution has been selected; previous recipients have been public K-12 schools.

Hollis + Miller is designing and building the "Learnscape," as it's known, with construction expected at the end of summer.

As for the location of the new learning and gathering spot, it will be off Pennsylvania Avenue on the main pedestrian approach to the Penn Valley campus. In the drawing here, the Physical Education building is at left, with the sidewalk heading to the Campus Center. As you can see, one of the Learnscape structures is covered.

PV campus president Tyjaun Lee says the concept was a collaboration that "included the voices of Penn Valley faculty, staff and Student Government Association officers."

The project aims to help students connect with nature. "Outdoor environments give students' minds a break from daily stressors and also provide a space to gather with peers or study individually while taking in the fresh air and natural connections," Hollis + Miller's Albert Ray says in an article on the firm's website.

The donation is valued at $155,000. Hollis + Miller was the architect for two recent Penn Valley capital projects: the Engineering Technology addition on the main campus (which opened in August 2021) and the Advanced Technical Skills Institute at 2944 Troost Ave. (opened last January, designed in tandem with Cuningham Group).