C.W. Driver is making the grade with California colleges, recently taking on construction manager duties at two Northern California college projects. The Pasadena, Calif.-based firm is working on a $25-million education center for the Foothill-De Anza Community College District in Sunnyvale and the $53.3-million Student Recreation and Wellness Center at San Francisco State University.

Image Courtesy of C.W. Driver
The Student Recreation and Wellness Center project, which is presently in schematic design, is scheduled to complete in early 2016.

The Student Recreation and Wellness Center will be a very highly visible project, says Dana Roberts, president/CEO. “We are building it on a hillside and also building a pedestrian tunnel under an active roadway, so it has some real challenges.”

Located on the northwest side of campus, at the current site of Sutro Library, the 112,270-sq-ft facility was designed by WRNS Studio to be an indoor activity space for students and the campus community. Highlights include a gymnasium, multipurpose studios, an elevated jogging track, indoor leisure pool with lap lanes, racquetball courts, a rock climbing wall, a weight and fitness area, classrooms and administrative offices. The project aims to achieve LEED Gold.

From a construction standpoint, highlights include a 150-ft-long pedestrian tunnel underneath a campus roadway, and a 40-ft grade break, which the wellness center will sit on.

“Building on a hillside will be a challenge,” says Mike Castillo, senior vice president of C.W. Driver’s Northern California Region. “There will be a lot of earth moving, retaining walls and deep foundations work.”

To support the new structure, Castillo says crews will use about 300 drilled caissons going down between 50 feet and 70 feet deep. The project, which is presently in schematic design, is scheduled to complete in early 2016.

The education center for Foothill-De Anza Community College District is located at the former Onizuka Air Force Station near Moffett Business Park. The project is funded by general obligation bonds approved by district voters in 2006.

Set on 9.2 acres, the education center project will require approximately three years to complete once the college district takes possession of the land and will be built to LEED standards. C.W. Driver will commence demolition in May of next year and the entire project should be finished in late 2015. Lionakis, Sacramento, is the project architect.

The multi-story education center will house classrooms, conference rooms and administrative offices, as well as a food service area. The center will be surrounded by a courtyard, and will have ample parking for students and faculty at the site.

Chris Graber, project manager for C.W. Driver, says one of the biggest early challenges on the job will be tearing down all the heavy-duty military structure left on the site. 

“We will be demolishing 600,000 sq ft of building space, on about 420,000 sq ft of site,” says Graber. “And this includes anything from jet propulsion engines [buildings] to electromagnetic rooms.”

Besides these two college projects, C.W. Driver also has about 48 others in various sectors that are either in design or under construction across the state, says Roberts.