Collin College’s Wylie Campus Puts Community First
Collin College’s Wylie campus broke ground when the city government donated land to make the new facility possible. Now, the campus gives back by providing a welcome environment for students, faculty and the surrounding community.
Based north of Dallas, the 339,000-square-foot Wylie campus accommodates 7,500 students pursuing degrees in everything from STEM and business to hospitality and fine arts. A bustling hub characterized by modern architecture and colorful interiors, the Wylie campus is where people want to spend time and where they feel at home.
Warm and Welcoming Design
“Citizens of Wylie have wanted this campus for many, many years,” said Mary McRae, Ph.D., Wylie’s campus provost who led the expansion. For that reason, “warm and welcoming” quickly became the ethos behind the new location.
The tree-lined Wylie campus features three large, multipurpose facilities: the campus commons, student center and library. The campus commons is home to a welcome center, career center, college counseling services, financial services and a well-equipped fitness center. The student center boasts a variety of spaces for student meetings, as well as Mama Lucido’s (a local restaurant featuring homemade recipes), Starbucks and a cafeteria that serve as social hubs.
Color is inherent to creating the vibrant, welcoming mood that characterizes the Wylie campus. A multi-chromatic sculpture hangs from the ceiling as the centerpiece in the student center. Gallery walls reminiscent of colorful glass panes exhibit student and faculty artwork. Seating areas across campus are upholstered in bold, colorful patterns that complement the color scheme of each building.
Multi-story ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows create a modern atmosphere with exceptional natural light.
- Mary McRae, Ph.D., Wylie's campus provost
We wanted a lot of light. We wanted a lot of color. It all just comes together for a really great, inviting space.
Interactive Learning and Social Spaces
“We created spaces for students to learn, but also spaces for them to socialize,” McRae said. “We know that research shows that if students are more engaged on campus, they’ll stay and they’ll come back. That’s what we’re hoping to achieve.”
In the student center, a wide “social staircase” offers an open space for students to gather, while providing a path to upper floors simultaneously. Private conference and study rooms are built into every nook and cranny of all the campus buildings.
The anchor of these spaces is comfortable lounge seating. Sway chairs with a 360-degree swivel create a cozy zone where students can relax between classes. Spacious areas near towering windows are filled in with inviting MyWay and MyPlace lounge seating.
“Especially in the larger spaces, you really need something where the scale of the seating looks appropriate to the space,” said McRae. “So that was really helpful when we worked with KI.”
McRae and her team were just as intentional when it came to designing classrooms on the campus. She sought easy-to-clean, light-colored and comfortable chairs for the students who spend so much time in them.
Through the Infinity From KI design process, the company modified its Strive chairs with softer padding on the seat for long-term comfort.
“We found that Strive is a really sturdy, incredible chair. We knew that’s what we were going to put in every single classroom,” McRae added. Throughout campus, there are variations of Strive seating, with casters and stationary glides, book racks and tablet arms.
A Place for Community
In addition to study groups and student organization meetings, the campus hosts meetings for the Wylie Chamber of Commerce, Wylie Economic Development Corporation and various local nonprofit organizations.
The conference hall, outfitted with Katera stack seating to host larger audiences as needed, has served as a polling place and a COVID-19 vaccination site, where more than 6,000 people received vaccines.
There’s no doubt that since the City of Wylie donated its land several years ago, Collin College’s Wylie campus has grown into a state-of-the-art center for learning and community alike.
- Mary McRae, Ph.D., Wylie's campus provost
I’ve had a lot of students say just how beautiful they think this campus is. I want them to feel like they had a great education, but that they also had a great experience here. I think the work that KI has done for us helps those students feel that.
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