ima Projects in the News: Advanced Technology and Education Park (ATEP)


With extensive experience in the campus sector, ima recognizes the crucial role landscape and hardscape designs play in campus culture and student enrollment retention. Recently, we worked for the South Orange County Community College District (SOCCD) along with architect GKKWorks, to provide the conceptual landscape design for the Advanced Technical and Education Park (ATEP).

The South Orange County Community College District oversees and operates three major Orange County community colleges, including ATEP. In 2014, a comprehensive district-wide strategic plan was implemented, complete with a vision and mission to transform the multi-campus district into a true community, giving students every opportunity for involvement and school pride. This is no easy feat for community colleges, as they are often commuter schools, and students generally spend little time on campus outside of class.

With ATEP’s prime location in sunny Southern California, it was a given that the outdoor setting be as vibrant and inviting as possible, with hopes students will take the time to soak up some rays in between classes instead of going off-campus.  ima allayed the City’s concerns over large hardscape areas and building massing with innovative ideas offering layers of opportunity for the growth and expansion of student life. In addition, ima implemented creative lighting concepts, street furniture, signage concepts, surface modulation, shading features, urban design vocabulary, and planting recommendations. The ideas, documentation, and visualization tools used demonstrate design cohesiveness throughout the site, enhance and define the pedestrian character, and contribute meaningfully to a sense of neighborhood at Tustin Legacy.

The results of ima’s conceptual designs are unbounded with opportunity for student involvement and engagement with one another in group-gathering settings. Most importantly, the outdoor learning areas introduce a new dimension of community as well as a strengthened campus culture – two goals stated in the district’s strategic plan.

Today, the ATEP building houses the School of Integrated Design, Engineering, and Automation (IDEA) as well as Irvine Valley College’s career education programs. It will commence its first full-semester of operation in the Fall of 2018.

For more information on ATEP and the South Orange County Community College District, click here.