In 2017 Mott Community College purchased a neighboring community church with the plans to convert it into their Early Childhood Learning and Family Life Center. Mott set the goal to make the appearance of this building blend better with the main campus so the community doesn’t see it as a church. However, the existing Eero Saarinen designed Woodside Church building is a well-known landmark both for its community presence and for its historical architectural significance. With its new identity as a part of Mott Community College this landmark needed to be transformed into a part of the campus while still being respectful of its heritage and its surroundings. The existing building site provided some challenges that needed to be addressed as part of the renovation project. These included items such as re-imagining the bell tower into a campus symbol through the use of architectural detailing and signage, updating the glazing and front façade of the childcare center to be more welcoming as well as energy efficient and reconfiguring the drop off areas and parking lots to provide a more cohesive and safe connection back to campus. Throughout the design process, the design team needed to be mindful of the community’s affection for this building and respectful of its legacy to the neighborhood.
The Lenore Croudy Family Life Center is the space where students can find their community on campus. Connected to the Early Childhood Learning Center it provides the college with much needed resources for working parents, low income families and students with other special hardships and needs. Through the use of open and flexible planning concepts the renovation will create interactive spaces that allow students and their families to interact with each other and with the building resources in meaningful ways. The open space design incorporates resources in highly visible and highly accessible ways to encourage their use and promote their impact on the students coming to this center. The design intends to support Mott’s programs to provide opportunities to more students to succeed in pursuing their college dreams.