CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Accessibility for students is the most essential feature of the Del Mar College's new Oso Creek Campus.
"Bringing more versatility and breaking the mold is very important," said Del Mar College's President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Escamilla.
A site tour Tuesday gave insight into the controversial school's construction progress, which officials said is 89 percent complete.
The design of the 96-acre campus, located at Yorktown Boulevard and Rodd Field, is designed to withstand the elements of the Coastal Bend weather, designers said, with sustainable materials used inside and out.
Officials also emphasized the more than 100 trees planted throughout the campus, which aim to give students the maximum amount of shade while walking across campus, and the school partnered with the Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority in order to create two bus stops for greater accessibility for students.
"Disabled students will also have access to safe and convenient parking," Escamilla said.
The campus features "Centers of Excellence," which include three specialized areas of study: architecture and drafting technology, bio-sciences, and hospitality and culinary arts. Its 249,544 sq. ft. of building space house the campus' central operations plant, hospitality and culinary institute, the main building, and the STEM building.
Officials said the STEM building's architecture studio has an ample amount of space, and they plan to have students' work displayed throughout the space, as well as various exhibits. The studio will serve as an instructional space and an after-hours work space for students.
The Hospitality and Culinary Institute will include teaching spaces, kitchen labs, a coffee shop, and a public-accessible restaurant to provide students with real-world learning experiences.
The kitchen lab boasts a modern cooking area with stainless steel appliances, mixers, gas stoves, industrial ovens, fryers, and other needed equipment.
The main building of Oso Creek Campus will house the library, student services, community meeting spaces, and another coffee shop. Each building has large amounts of architectural glass so students can have plenty of natural lighting.
The Gensler architectural firm consulted with local architects from Turner Ramirez Architects to design the Oso Campus. It was built by Fulton Coastcon construction.
The college anticipates a partial opening of the STEM Building with classrooms and faculty offices ready to use in mid-July. The Hospitality and Culinary Institute building is scheduled to be fully open by Aug. 29.
"In addition to the Centers of Excellence, the Oso Creek Campus will provide core courses taken by university transfer students, along with dual credit (classes), developmental, workforce training, and continuing education courses," said officials.
DMC officials say courses at the Oso Creek campus will be in an 8-week format with several online options and is currently in development stages.
Several of the college's regents were in attendance, including chairwoman Carol A. Scott, Escamilla, and vice president John Strybos.