McCarthy Building Companies, Inc completed construction this week on the new 206,000-sq-ft, four-story Math+Science Complex at San Diego Mesa College. The $109 million project is the first in the San Diego Community College District to use a combination design build, design assist and CM multiprime delivery method.

Designed by San Diego-based Delawie Architecture, the complex was constructed with structural steel, concrete shear walls and an exterior curtain wall. It features a sleek, contemporary design with abundant

blog post photo

use of light-colored terrazzo flooring, stainless steel railings and finishes, aluminum wall panels and precast concrete stairways. A central lobby, comprising a pair of two-story atria, links the laboratory and classroom/office wings, and a courtyard between the two wings provides outdoor circulation space, as well as an exterior space for educational opportunities.

To make sure all the elaborate building components fit into place, Gil Camarena, McCarthy project manager, says BIM clash detection was used extensively on all MEP systems and the building enclosure.

The new facility, which is shooting for LEED Silver, sits in the center of the campus, with heavy student traffic on all four sides. To make room for the project, McCarthy’s took down three existing structures.

“Access to the project was a delivery/fire road located along the north side of the project,” says Camarena. “The biggest challenge of the project was to deliver all the construction materials through the college without impacting the college. McCarthy overcame this challenge by coordinating all deliveries with the school schedule and escorting trucks to the site in order to minimize the impact to the college.”

Sustainable highlights on the project include recycled materials such as as caramelized bamboo for all wood surfaces; natural daylighting in all classrooms and laboratories; and high-performance, low "E" glazing on windows to allow natural light and unwanted ultraviolet and infrared light waves.

Exterior landscaping features drought-tolerant, globally themed gardens, including an Australian Garden and a South African Garden, while an interior courtyard features two, six-ft-tall stone wall segments depicting the earth’s layers. 

The new building houses four floors of classrooms, computer classrooms, and teaching lab classrooms, as well as faculty, staff and administrative support space. Specialty spaces include a greenhouse and a rooftop astronomy observation center. Students will be able to attend classes in the new facility starting spring quarter.

This is the third major project McCarthy has worked on at San Diego Mesa College on behalf of the San Diego Community College District. The company also built the 50,000-sq-ft Allied Health Building, which was completed in August of 2009 and awarded a LEED Gold, and the Miramar College parking structure and police substation, which was completed in August of 2011 and received LEED Platinum.

Project team members on the San Diego Mesa College Math+Science Complex included Hope Engineering for structural engineering, RBF Consulting for civil engineering; and Wimmer Yamada and Caughey was the landscape architect.