Los Rios Community College District Commissions Dreyfuss + Blackford for New Mohr Hall at Sacramento City College

September 13, 2016


New 27,000 SF modernized building will be gateway to campus; makes room for future second building on site

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Sacramento City College is the oldest higher learning institution in the Los Rios Community College District, and the Sacramento region. In an effort to work with what the campus already had, and the need for updated classroom and lab spaces, the district has hired Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture (D+B) to design a new advanced Mohr Hall building that will blend seamlessly into the existing campus context. Construction is expected to begin June 15, 2017 and be completed in 19 months.

“This project has been a long time coming,” said Joseph Meyer, architect and project manager at Los Rios Community College District. “There were a lot of issues with the existing building and this will alleviate several problems at once,” he said.

Built in the 1960s, the existing Mohr Hall is a single-story building on a prominent corner that differs from the established campus architecture, and occupies the space of two buildings. It has several deficiencies that cannot be readily corrected. “Our challenge was to create an interior environment to facilitate modern lab, teaching and student gathering spaces with an exterior aesthetic responsive to the architectural vocabulary already established on campus,” said Brian Lefholz, project designer at D+B. “The new building is two stories, brick and concrete, with terra cotta clay tile, and fits better into the campus” he said. The new Mohr Hall will occupy the western portion of the current site, leaving space for another future two-story building to the east. “The siting of this building had to be precise because it is the new face of the campus,” said Christopher Holt, project manager for new Mohr Hall at D+B. The placement of new Mohr Hall completes street frontage on Freeport Boulevard and anchors the prominent corner of Sutterville Road and Freeport Boulevard.


The building is home to the Physical Science and Allied Health departments which consist of the following programs: Physics, Astronomy, Geology, Physical Therapist Assistant, Occupational Therapy Assistant, and Nursing. It will have two lecture halls with space for 60 students each; four physical science labs for optics, physics, electromagnetism, and geology; five allied health labs including: basic nursing, simulation, physical therapy, and occupational therapy; and 13 offices for the Physical Science and Allied Health departments.

In order to design this project to fully meet student and staff needs, the architects went to great lengths to immerse themselves in the building user’s world. “At the beginning we actually audited classes and conducted extensive interviews with each of the professors and program leads. Later, we went on benchmarking tours around the Los Rios Community College District to research how similar programs configured their teaching and storage spaces. This immersion greatly informed the design decisions, and continues to pay dividends as we develop the project,” said Holt.

Sustainability & Specific Features

Although not currently seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, the building was designed to be equivalent to U.S. Green Building Standard certification of LEED Silver. The project incorporates LED lighting, and passive solar features such as deep overhangs and vertical fins to help shield from low sun angles.

Other sustainable building- and site-specific features include:

•locally-sourced landscaping materials: drought-tolerant native plants and approximately new 22 trees;

•preservation of an existing 48” diameter heritage Red Oak tree along Freeport Boulevard;

•locally-sourced materials including thin brick veneer, and clay tile roofing;

•operable windows in office spaces;

•reuse of old building elements including slate chalkboards for feature entry wall and outdoor teaching area, and exterior stainless steel signage.

A series of outdoor gathering spaces and landscape features better connect the building to the existing circulation of campus. A large rock garden outside incorporates specimens from the colleges’ vast geological collection. Three key areas in the building (entry, student gathering, and stair tower) incorporate light fixtures in ceiling arranged in patterns of the Big Dipper, Orion, and Cassiopeia constellations. These lighting patterns, can be seen from the exterior canopies and continue into the interior of the building.

An extensive mineral collection will be displayed in custom casework around the building interior, and gathering spaces located inside on both floors are designed to allow students to casually interact with each other and faculty. “Both of the study areas are located near the faculty offices where students have easy access to professors and adjunct teachers,” said Lefholz. Lab spaces are located on the east allowing for access to the courtyard and outdoor spaces, including those utilized by allied health students for training.

Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture

Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture, founded in 1950 in Sacramento, Calif., with an office in San Francisco, is a mid-size firm headquartered in the California capital. The firm serves corporate, public, and institutional markets with solutions achieved through collaboration and innovation. Committed to a sustainable future, D+B brings expertise in architecture, master planning, interiors, graphic design, and construction services. Recently completed projects include The Shop at VSP Global, CLARA Midtown – E. Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts at Fremont School, and the Yolo County Woodland Superior Courthouse.

Sacramento City College

Since 1916, Sacramento City College has provided outstanding academic and vocational training for 212 degree and certificate programs. With the main campus located in the heart of Sacramento, and college outreach centers in Davis and West Sacramento, the college enrolls a diverse community of nearly 22,000 students and offers multicultural activities throughout the academic year. For 100 years, Sacramento City College has remained committed to fostering a learning community that celebrates diversity, nurtures personal growth, and inspires academic and economic leadership.

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