Case Study

Flex Tech Community College

Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyoming required a building that could shift from welding to woodworking, from automotive repair to wind energy, to educate students in response to industry needs.

The Flex Tech Community College Building was designed to deliver flexible vocation educational space, and serve as the new front door to the campus. The core of the building is a collaborative space where connections are generated between students, teachers, industry, and the community.

CTA Architects Engineers worked closely with Laramie County Community College to understand their vision for this learning environment. “As an integrated firm, with a specialty in designing for powerful learning and teaching and extensive experience in vocational education – we were a great fit,” said Laura Koehler, AIA, LEED SP at CTA Architects Engineers.


The building was designed with a concrete structure to withstand the interior wear and tear of the automotive and welding shops and provide adequate resistance to fire. Given the visibility of the building on campus, it needed an attractive exterior material to clad the concrete structure. The design needed the visual interest and texture provided by the metal wall panels.

The biggest issue in the design was making the building “flexible.” Metal panels were chosen to due to cost and modularity, as the building was designed for possible future expansion and the modularity of a metal panel system supported that need. Future expansions will be accomplished through the removal of specific exterior wall sections, denoted through panel trim joints.

CTA Architects Engineers typically selects metal roof panels for their compatibility with pre-engineered metal building systems.


CTA Architects Engineers worked closely with Laramie County Community College to accomplish the vision for this learning environment. The goal was to connect students to industry leaders and community partners, and create a space that shows a professional ‘tech’ environment in which to engage employers while being conscious and appreciative of industry’s impact on the region.

The Flex Tech building features systems aimed at minimizing energy use, such as special insulation, low-energy lighting, energy recovery systems, water conservation strategies, and abundant daylighting. A stormwater retention pond uses plants to treat and absorb contaminants.

“We needed the visual interest and texture provided by the metal wall panels. On a small section of sloping metal roof, the profile of the metal panels provides visual interest to the building that a membrane roof could not provide,” Koehler said.


Metal Sales offered the greatest diversity in panel profiles for both exposed and concealed fastening conditions. The design required a variety of profile types to break down the large exterior shop walls. “

With the Metal Sales catalog, CTA was able to select a variety of profiles in different shades. That made installation easier for the contractor who only had to install one panel type.

“The multiple Metal Sales locations across the country were a comfort to our contractor, knowing that product was readily available when he needed it,” Koehler said.

For Laura Koehler and CTA Architects Engineers, her language speaks of colors and textures as well as construction integration and durability. If you’re making metal a part of your next project, talk to us about delivering beautiful, functional metal panels for horizontal and vertical applications.

Grand Prize Award winner, Fall 2017 edition of LEARNING BY DESIGN Award Site

AIA Montana 2017 Excellence in Education, Citation Award Award Site                   


Project Details

Flex Tech Community College

Project Size: 48,700
Project Type: Education (College/University)
Architect: CTA Architects Engineers

General Contractor: FCI Constructors of Wyoming