Tacoma, WA

Tacoma Community College; Schacht Aslani, Architect


This one-acre lawn area at Tacoma Community College was transformed into a scenic campus commons. The campus commons provides a clearly defined outdoor gathering space that is appropriate for large formal gatherings, such as graduations, to small informal gatherings, such as a place to meet with fellow students.

The commons has grading and planting features that are utilized to hide existing mechanical units in the area while preserving the landscape character of the campus. The proposed sustainable grading and drainage system is designed to treat surface water runoff with a raingarden which alleviates existing ponding areas within the previous lawn area.

Several obstacles were navigated during design and construction such as shallow hardpan, unmapped utilities, and ground source heat wells with shallow service lines. Additionally, ADA access was improved by replacing the existing asphalt pathways with ADA compliant concrete pathways.


“The Commons is a brilliant example of what a campus commons can be. I was able to observe the transition from an area that no one used to gathering hub for informal and formal events. It is exciting to see the flexibility of the commons. Students use it as a place to meet, throw a Frisbee, read a book, plus it can also be used for formal events such as ceremonies.”

Ross Jarvis, PE
Project Manager