ILCC Sustainable Energy, Resources and Technologies Building

Estherville, IA

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SERT Exterior Main Entrance
Interior entrance Commons with dramatic yellow signage
Student Lounge area with illumination of mechanical room
Interior entrance showcasing abundant windows
Turbine blade for student rappel training
Student lab and classroom
SERT nacelle instruction space
SERT nacelle instruction space

Previously an abandoned metal building, the Sustainable Energy, Resources and Technologies project at Iowa Lakes Community College is now the physical embodiment of its program’s mission. The SERT exemplifies sustainable design from its centerpiece to its infrastructure.

The two-story atrium is captivating with a 70-ton nacelle – the housing unit atop a 200-foot wind turbine.  Here, used for student instruction along with a vertically-installed turbine blade where students learn to rappel in a controlled environment. Adjacent to the atrium is the mechanical room, which is prominently displayed behind a glass wall with energy-efficient lighting illuminating the space.

Alternative energy is a key component of the building with the atrium floor utilizing the geothermal field to heat its polished concrete while an extensive array of solar paneling on an exterior wall both announces the building’s alternative-energy aims and powers rooftop cooling units.

Design Influence

Creative and interactive design is wedded to sustainability in the SERT to turn a deserted manufacturing building into a cost-efficient, mission-driven and future-ready educational space.


2016 Building Profile, Metal Architecture
2016 Project Spotlight, Design Cost Data