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College in midst of $20 million building boom

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San Diego Mesa College currently has two, $20 million-plus projects under way, which represents the most construction activity on campus in years.

McCarthy Building Cos. Inc. recently announced that construction is under way for a new $20 million, 49,000-square-foot Allied Health building, which will be the first new teaching facility to be built at the college since its opening in 1964.

The three-story building designed by San Diego-based Architects | Delawie Wilkes Rodrigues Barker will include a computer lab, classrooms, a clinical dental lab, physical therapy lab, medical lab, plus faculty and staff offices.

Because of the building's compact site a three-story building layout was necessary to accommodate all uses required by the faculty, staff and students.

The exterior design of building is intended to reduce the vertical emphasis of the tall building by incorporating multiple horizontal design elements such as a continuous ribbon window curtain wall system with integral horizontal window eyebrows, which also shade the glass.

Another design element is the introduction of stone cladding on the more powerful vertical elements of the building such as stairs and entry areas.

This will be the first campus facility to use stone elements on the exterior.

The project also involves extensive realignment of an existing roadway, which poses the challenge of deciphering how to perform the majority of the work without interrupting access to campus.

According to a release, McCarthy's project team and the district came up with a shorter phasing plan that should significantly reduce the campus disruption and save the district money.

Completion is slated for August 2009.

The project team consultants include Hope Engineering, RBF Consulting, TKG Consulting Engineers Inc., Wimmer Yamada & Caughey and Churchill Engineering Inc.

In late December 2007 Douglas E. Barnhart Inc. broke ground on an on-campus parking structure and police substation.

The projected construction time is 14 months, with an estimated completion date of January 2009.

The new development will include a 7,000-square-foot police office building and an adjacent five-level, 325,000 square foot parking structure for approximately 1,100 vehicles.

Approximately 50 percent of the parking structure will be positioned within an existing canyon, creating a much lower perceived height from the entrance drive.

Another key element expedites traffic flow into the parking structure by allowing for five entrance points at three levels of the structure.

The single-story police facility will incorporate a reception lobby, staff office, conference areas, locker and exercise rooms, and other secure areas for campus police.

The project has already achieved Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, and may achieve Gold Certification.

Green aspects of the project include use of low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints for improved indoor air quality; access to natural light sources for building occupants; renewable and recycled materials for interior finishes; recycled materials used in structural items like concrete and masonry; highly energy efficient HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning), lighting and hot water distribution systems; and low-water use landscape planting materials and highly efficient irrigation systems.

In addition, the parking structure design incorporates provisions for a solar panel array on the roof that will augment the campus' electrical power system, and will offset some of the power requirements for this and future projects.

San Diego-based Architects | Delawie Wilkes Rodrigues Barker, in addition to the health center, also designed these projects.

The east entrance drive project team includes Latitude 33 and TKG Consulting Engineers.

The police office building project team includes RBF Consulting, Hope Engineering and TKG Consulting Engineers Inc.

Parking structure project team consultants include Parkitects, Ficcadenti & Waggoner and Toft Wolff Farrow Inc. and Wimmer Yamada & Caughey.

URS Corp. (NYSE: URS) is serving as the construction manager for the college's entire ongoing project list.

Both the Allied Health Center and parking structure/police facility project are paid for by the Proposition S Construction Bond, which was approved by San Diego voters in 2002.

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