At Schoolcraft Community College, the VisTaTech Center is a major focal point of the campus with a nationally recognized Culinary Arts program and American Harvest restaurant within the building along with an 8,000 sf multi-purpose room, a 300-seat theater-style Presentation Room, and a Business Development Center, which contains computer and high tech class rooms wired for every possible audio/visual device, office areas, and a Business Resource Center.
The food preparation spaces presented some of the greatest challenges for the project team when it came to installation of technology equipment. "Kitchen spaces have grease, heat, smoke and other issues," said Rael Blair of Barton Malow's Technology Services Department. "Typically you avoid such spaces, but we had to design a solution that would seamlessly incorporate all of the required technology."
In order to house and protect the equipment from the elements in each kitchen a 4-foot stainless steel cabinet was constructed to match the feel of the room. This holds the brains of the system for each separate facility. The source equipment - DVD players, VCR's, computers, touch screens and camera controls had to be housed in the instructors work space so clear covers were constructed to protect the equipment and filtering and venting were installed in close proximity to the equipment.
To accommodate clear sight lines, as well as chef's hats, range hoods were placed at a 6'10" elevation. Despite this placement far from the cooking surface, the project team was able to accomplish a complete air exchange in the production kitchen every 55 seconds by moving 12,000 CFM through a single duct. The same range hoods house a sophisticated fire suppression system that can deliver Ansul fire extinguishing liquid directly onto the cooking surface, even with currents of air crossing over the cooking surface. Putting these systems into place required precision and teamwork.
This project was not only a success for the project team of architect Ghafari Associates, and Barton Malow who served as construction and technology manager, but also for Schoolcraft Community College, the community and future chefs everywhere.