2019—E.L. Turbon Student Center

Alamo Colleges District—E.L. Turbon Student Center
Architect: Pfluger Architects

The design incorporates renovation of a 1950’s former performing arts building together with new construction to create a vibrant new learn-study-play facility that enhances the student experience and activates learning by keeping students engaged and on campus. The project took an underutilized and uninspiring space and created a hub of activity that has energized the campus and the neighboring community, while honoring the rich history of both.


  • The new entries and main corridor were strategically aligned to the campus’ north/south walkway for natural flow through the building.
  • The design is organized with loud/high traffic areas on the first floor and quiet/meeting rooms on the second.
  • Large expanses of glass provide daylight to interior spaces and views of the exterior landscape.
  • The plan allows students to choose to relax, play, eat or collaborate in an active or passive environment.

Value—Star of DistinctionValue

  • Reuse of an existing building and existing wood stage floor.
  • Provides shared and flexible spaces for students and community use.
  • Large window placement enhance human connection to nature, maximizes natural day light and minimize solar heat gains.
  • Reduces Annual Operating Cost by use of LED lighting, low flow water fixtures, building envelope design, and energy efficient HVAC systems and controls.
  • Use of long-life/low-maintenance materials to reduce life cycle cost.


  • Repurposed existing stage wood floor and reused over 90% of the existing building structure.
  • Natural Views and Daylight to 100% of collaborative spaces and offices.
  • Energy efficient envelope design.
  • Outdoor learning spaces provide a connection to nature.
  • Improve Indoor Air Quality with Low emitting materials in carpet, paint, and finishes.
  • “No Wax” facility reduces maintenance and lowers lifecycle cost.


  • Set in the center of the campus along a main pedestrian path, the Student Center keeps students active and engaged.
  • Creates a sense of community by providing a place where students can study, collaborate, relax and play on campus.
  • Provides a gathering place for students, faculty, & staff to congregate and create relationships and memories.
  • The bowling alley and conference rooms are available to the general public and outside organizations for team building, meetings and community events.


  • Planning process was interactive and involved District Facility Managers, College Administrative Staff, Faculty, Department Directors and Student-body representatives.
  • Space Program phase identified key aspects: Project Mission Statement and Goals, Space/Adjacency and Technical Requirements.
  • Planning process informed the project design to exceed “user group needs” and become the new Core/HUB for the college to engage the student body with a renovated sense of place and ownership.

School Transformation

  • The final intent of the Student Center was to exceed its Space Program functions and become the new college HUB at the center of the campus.
  • Students are encouraged to not only use but take ownership of the building.
  • The entire college culture and flow has been transformed, even faculty and staff walk through the building daily to get a coffee or visit with students in “their own environment”.
  • The larger community is also taking advantage of the facility and using it for multiple events.

Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner