Salt River Project
The Skills Training Center (STC) is an integral part of SRP’s training for the essential linemen and women who keep much of the power running throughout the Valley. The building serves as a temporary home to employees who spend much of their time outdoors, frequently working high in the air on overhead lines. It is also a permanent home to both full-time administration and instructive employees, who keep operations running smoothly. SRP wanted this new facility to be an enjoyable place to work for these hardworking people. As such, one of SRP’s main goals for the STC was creating a space where the staff and students felt inspired to learn and where they would want to come into work each day.
The site is located on the north edge of a large parking lot/vehicle training yard. During the week, the lot is used to train employees in safely parking and maneuvering SRP’s large utility vehicles. During off-hours, the lot serves as overflow parking for the larger PERA Training & Conference Center. To the north of this lot lies a natural wash that floods during heavy rains. The STC was located just south of that wash, creating a transition between the asphalt on the south and the beauty of the natural wash on the north.
Inside, office space for approximately 20 people, including a conference room, is positioned opposite the main entrance to the south, with large windows overlooking the wash and showcasing Camelback Mountain in the distance. A quick jaunt down a double-loaded hallway to the east takes one down to one of four 24-person classrooms, terminating at the entrance to the electrical equipment training room. The narrow windows in the classroom corners allow for the students to glimpse the outdoor landscaping immediately outside the building.
Design cues were developed based on the surrounding desert landscape and nearby wash. The building massing has three main blocks that create the program spaces inside. The blocks are made of colored CMU with earth tones to blend into the desert. Punched metal canopies protect the south-facing glazing from the harsh Arizona sun while allowing natural light to filter into enclosed spaces. The punched metal creates the main entry and provides shade to the outdoor gathering space for all to enjoy.