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Southwestern College gets major overhaul on four campuses

Southwestern College has a bevy of construction projects in the works courtesy of $389 million in funding from its Proposition R bond measure, passed by voters in 2008 and reexamined and allotted by the Southwestern Community College District Governing Board in 2012.

Two of these projects were recently completed, with another handful in various stages of construction and planning throughout the Southwestern College main campus in Chula Vista, and its three satellite locations in San Ysidro, Otay Mesa and National City.

First to come online is a solar panel project spread over five Chula Vista campus parking lots, which was completed before the school’s fall session began on August 18. This series of solar panels will produce three megawatts of power, making it the largest single project in San Diego Gas and Electric’s service area. It was completed at a total cost of $10.3 million, and the contractor on the project was Sun Power.

Also finalized in August was the new Field House building and DeVore Stadium renovation, which had its grand opening on August 15. The Field House building comprises four classrooms, a 150-seat lecture hall and nine office rooms, along with sports locker rooms and a fitness center spanning an entire floor. The building is four stories tall, though from the higher elevation of the educational part of campus only two floors are visible. Two floors face the newly-renovated stadium, which features artificial turf, additional bathrooms, a new press box, concession stands on both the home and away sides of the field and two entries into the complex.

Immediately adjacent to the stadium and Field House complex is a new central plant that controls the heating and air for campus.

The total cost of the Field House and stadium renovation coupled with the central air plant was $45.1 million. Lillian Leopold, chief public information and government relations officer for Southwestern College, said that 22 contractor bid packages were used for this project, 77 percent of which were local businesses, 77 percent of which were small businesses, and 2 percent of which were disabled veteran-owned businesses.

“The Field House building is going to be LEED Silver probably, though we may push it to LEED Gold,” Leopold said. “We diverted 89 percent of the construction waste from that job site, which came out to be 2,637 tons of construction debris not going to a landfill.”

Other projects in the queue include a wellness center, Blue Light Emergency Communications System, a new math, science and engineering building and a new higher education building on the National City campus.

The wellness center is slated to go up on a corner lot at East H Street and Otay Lakes Road in Chula Vista that’s been vacant for roughly 50 years. The school’s governing board approved a final plan with specifics for the center on Aug. 13; current plans detail a multistory building that will house the school’s gym and athletic facilities, allowing for the new math and science building to go up on the lot where the existing pool sits.

The wellness center will house a minimum of two competition pools and a therapy pool, as well as flexible space for basketball courts and large assemblies, rooms for fitness classes and a juice bar or nutrition stand.

The project is expected to get underway in spring 2015 with a summer 2016 completion date, at a cost of $31 million. Gensler is the architect and Balfour Beatty the construction manager.

Once the wellness center is fully operational, the existing building housing Southwestern’s pool will be torn down, and a multistory math, science and engineering building will take its place. It’s still a bit farther down the line, but the expected demolition date for the current pool building is January 2015, with a construction start date for the new building in summer 2016, to be completed in 2018 at a cost of roughly $60 million. The architect of record is Marlene Imirzian & Associates Architects, and a construction manager has not been selected yet.

The Proposition R funds are also being used to install 32 Blue Light Emergency Communications Stations throughout the Chula Vista campus and all three satellite campuses at a cost of $2.6 million by engineering firm EPI. The stations will be both pole and building-mounted, and the project will get underway on Oct. 14.

The National City Higher Education Center is getting a new two-story building that will include four science labs and allow for the consolidation of the school’s small business and contracting division into the ground floor of existing buildings. This $15.3 million project is slated to begin construction in spring 2015 with a summer 2016 completion date. Sundt is the construction manager and Johnson Favaro the architect.

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