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October 4, 2013

Jack Beresford

San Diego Community College District projects honored for design excellence

Mesa College Student Services Center honored with a Design Orchid by San Diego Architectural Foundation; Continuing Education Mesa College Campus honored as Best Higher Education Project by ENR California DIEGO – Taxpayer-approved projects built as part of the San Diego Community College District's (SDCCD) $1.555 billion Propositions S and N construction bond program continue to be honored for excellence in design, successfully competing for such distinctions with projects from throughout San Diego County and California.

Mesa College's Student Services Center was honored for design excellence Thursday at the San Diego Architectural Foundation's annual Orchids and Onions contest. The Continuing Education Mesa College Campus was named by Engineering News-Record (ENR) California as the Best Higher Education Project in its recent 2013 Best Projects competition.

update"We are very proud that these new facilities are being honored for their exemplary design; two of the latest projects in a long list of San Diego Community College District facilities receiving awards for high-quality design, efficiency, and engineering," said SDCCD Chancellor Constance Carroll. "Our thanks to San Diego voters who have made these buildings of excellence possible."

Mesa College Student Services – San Diego Architectural Foundation Orchids and Onions

The 30-year-old Orchids and Onions design contest takes nominations from the public for good and bad examples of local architecture, landscape architecture, historic preservation, interior design, and community revitalization.

The Student Services Center, awarded an Orchid for Architecture, is a new four story, 85,000 gross square feet building serving as the new home for student services on campus. Services include Admissions, Financial Aid, Veterans Affairs, Assessment and Testing, Counseling, student government, Disability Support Programs and Services (DSPS), Information and Outreach, classrooms, conference areas and a café. The project also includes a new express elevator between the lower parking lot and the upper campus.

hallAll of the departments are arranged around an open four-level atrium, where students can interact with each other and the various departments in a single location. Each floor opens up onto a series of outdoor terraces that move up the hillside slopes adjacent to the project. The building is certified LEED Gold. Projected energy savings of 340,000 kWh annually are 35% better than state requirements. Water-efficient plumbing, irrigation and landscape will result in a water savings of 40% on the building use and 50% on landscape. The project includes materials and finishes that include recycled content, attention to indoor air quality and the use of natural daylight.

In their comments, the Orchids and Onions jury described the Student Services Center as a building that "makes people feel good about coming to school." They appreciated the project's interesting architecture and tessellated façade and thought it was well-executed. One juror noted that it was "a handsome building that does a hell of a job terrain-wise."

"We were thrilled to accept the award at the 2013 Orchids and Onions event last night," said Mesa College President Pamela Luster. "It's a rare opportunity to celebrate architecture as art; the function of the building is its crowning prize, a place for students to stay on campus in a supportive and beautiful learning environment."

Two other SDCCD projects received nominations: the Mesa College Design Center and the Continuing Education Mesa College Campus.

Continuing Education Mesa College Campus – ENR California Best Projects 2013

ENR California's annual competition this year drew 100 entries located in California and Hawaii, competing for Best Project and Award of Merit honors in 19 categories. Continuing Education Mesa College Campus, named Best Higher Education Project, is a new two-story, 38,500 square feet facility the consolidated programs previously offered in temporary classrooms at Clairemont High School, rented facilities and community and neighborhood locations. The facility accommodates English as a Second Language, Disability Support Programs and Services, Parent/Child programs, and Emeritus programs for adults age 55+. It includes classrooms, art labs, a kitchenette, an outdoor play area, a ceramics yard and administrative support space. The project was awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

"The significance of having a Continuing Education location on the Mesa College Campus is that our Continuing Education students who have a goal to continue in higher education have counseling and support services directly related to their transition efforts," said Dr. Anthony Beebe, President of San Diego Continuing Education. "Last year, of the almost 2,000 students who transitioned from Continuing Education to one of the District's three colleges, 735 went to Mesa."

The formal award will be presented by ENR California in December.


Student Services Center Photos – Facebook gallery here
Videos - Grand Opening / Topping-Out Ceremony / Structural Steel Erection
Previous Awards – American Public Works Association (APWA) 2013 Honor Project

Project Team – Architect: Hanna Gabriel Wells Architect

Construction Manager: PCL Construction
General Contractors: Multi-Prime
Civil Engineer: Snipes-Dye Engineering
Electrical Engineer: Michael Wall Engineers
Mechanical Engineer: McParlane and Associates
Structural Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers
Landscape Architect: MLA Design Studio
Inspector of Record: Steve Bibby
Propositions S & N Program Manager: Gafcon, Inc.
Campus Project Manager: Diane K. Malone, AIA NCARB LEED AP, Gafcon, Inc.
Project Manager: Mike Clark, Gafcon, Inc.
Furniture, Fixture & Equipment (FF&E) Project Manager: Laura Faustine, Gafcon, Inc.

Continuing Education Mesa College Campus Media Resources
Photos – Facebook gallery here
Previous Awards – Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) Award of Excellence
Blog: Mesa College: Coastal Breeze Cools Classrooms.
Project Team - Architect: SGPA Architecture & Planning

Construction Manager: PCL Construction
Structural Engineer: KNA Consulting Engineers
Electrical Engineer: Johnson Consulting Engineers
Civil Engineer: Latitude 33
Plumbing/Mechanical Engineer: MA Engineers
Fire Protection: Protection, Design and Consulting
LEED Consultant: Drew George & Associates
Kitchen: RW Smith and Co.
Inspector of Record:  Henderson Nugent
Propositions S & N Program Manager: Gafcon, Inc.
Campus Project Manager: Scott Ellis, URS Corp.
Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment (FF&E) Project Manager: Tricia Hendrickson, Gafcon, Inc.

The $1.555 billion Propositions S and N construction bond program is providing for new instructional and career training facilities, major renovations, campuswide infrastructure projects, public safety enhancements and parking projects at City, Mesa and Miramar Colleges, and six Continuing Education campuses. For additional information, please visit

For project renderings or photos, or to see original award submissions, please contact Ursula Kroemer at (760) 705-6919 or

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3375 Camino Del Rio South, San Diego, California 92108

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