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Southwestern College unveils plans for largest new development since campus construction

New college center to include bookstore, classrooms, civic space

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Southwestern College has unveiled plans for the largest new development since the college’s original construction in 1961. The project will include classroom space and a state-of-the-art bookstore, creating a new center of activity for the college, and a modern community and civic center for Chula Vista.

“This is our legacy to this community,” said Dr. Raj K. Chopra, superintendent and president of Southwestern College. “This development will allow us to create jobs for our residents, offer more classes to our students and further our college's reputation as a center of civic engagement and culture. We are grateful to the community for their energy and ideas, and for passing Proposition R to make this project possible.”

The Southwestern College Governing Board selected BCA Architects to complete the architectural design at a special board meeting on April 20. Once complete, the 110,000-square-foot project will include a new college bookstore, classroom space, food court, art gallery, culinary arts program, wellness center, administrative offices, conference space and police station. The development, which will be located on the college’s corner lot at East H Street and Otay Lakes Road, will generate dozens of construction jobs.

“This is a great day for our college,” said Yolanda Salcido, president of the Southwestern College Governing Board. “We are proud to be this community's institution of higher learning and when this project is complete, we will be able to offer more of the classes, programs and services that set our college apart.” Since joining the board, Salcido has made the development of the corner lot a priority for the board.

Southwestern College issued a request for proposals in December 2009 for the corner lot design, and 41 firms responded. The process was narrowed to seven finalists who participated in a design competition, which received input from the Chopra, college vice presidents, faculty members, classified staff and the community. Ultimately, the design presented by BCA Architects was selected by the college. BCA will continue to gather student and community input as it moves toward a final design.

“The proposed Southwestern College corner lot design supports the current and future needs of the college by meeting the established goals of linking the land to the campus and to the local community while creating a significant entry statement for the college,” said Paul C. Bunton, AIA, founding principal of BCA Architects. “The design respects the Mayan Revival style of the existing campus while drawing from the more traditional Mayan architecture and reinterprets it in a contemporary and sustainable manner using natural stone.”

In addition to its educational and community features, the new project is planned as an environmentally sustainable project that will seek Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certification. LEED Platinum is the highest certification a new construction project can receive.

Submitted by Southwestern College

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