Press Release: 12.10.2013

McCarthy Completes Construction of New $109 Million Math+Science Complex at San Diego Mesa College

Interior shot of completed Math+Science Center at San Diego Mesa College

McCarthy, one of the nation’s leading education facility builders, has completed construction for the new 206,000-gross-square-foot, four-story Math+Science Complex in the heart of San Diego Mesa College, located at 7250 Mesa College Drive in the Clairemont area of San Diego, Calif.

Representing the largest new project to be built on the San Diego Mesa College campus with Propositions S and N construction bond funds, 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. 

“The Math+Science Complex was more technically involved than other construction projects we’ve undertaken, which drove the decision to use this delivery method,” said Lance Lareau, District Architect for the San Diego Community College District. “We’re pleased McCarthy was able to deliver the project on budget and well ahead of the planned opening date.”

The new San Diego Mesa College Math+Science Complex will provide new educational space for students pursuing degree and certificate programs in biology, chemistry, physical sciences and mathematics. The 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 an astronomy observation center located on the rooftop.  Students will be able to attend classes in the new facility starting spring quarter.

Designed by Architects | Delawie Wilkes Rodrigues Barker, the new Math+Science Complex is constructed with structural steel, concrete shear walls and an exterior curtain wall. It features a sleek, contemporary design with abundant 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.

A courtyard between the two wings provides outdoor circulation space, as well as an exterior space for educational opportunities.

Numerous sustainable design features support the project goal of a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The building maximizes the use of recycled material or rapidly renewable sources such as caramelized bamboo, which was used for all wood surfaces.

All classrooms, teaching laboratories, and the majority of the staff offices optimize the use of natural daylight in order to reduce energy demands from artificial light, decrease eyestrain and increase productivity. The windows utilize high-performance, low “E” glazing that allows natural daylight to enter the building, while rejecting unwanted ultraviolet and infrared light waves.

All walls and roof areas are highly insulated to help conserve energy while maintaining a healthy, uniform temperature. The roofing construction consists of a cool-roof material, which will reflect unwanted energy and reduce the amount of energy consumed. Construction waste was recycled.

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

The Math+Science Complex occupies a 200,000-square-foot site immediately east of the existing Learning Resource Center near the center of the campus. McCarthy’s construction crews disassembled three older buildings on the site before breaking ground for the new facility in August of 2011. Construction required careful monitoring and managing to minimize disruption to regular campus activities. Advanced technology played a key role in accomplishing construction within the specified timeframe.

“We not only utilized Building Information Modeling (BIM) for the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems throughout the building, we also used BIM clash detection on the exterior building enclosure with the structural frame of the building,” said McCarthy Project Manager Gil Camarena.

San Diego Community College District - Mesa College Math & Science Building

Project consultants for the new San Diego Mesa College Math+Science Complex included Hope Engineering for structural engineering, RBF Consulting for civil engineering, and exp (I always struggle with how they want this depicted because it always looks like a typo) for mechanical and electrical engineering. Wimmer Yamada and Caughey was the landscape architect. Gafcon is the program manager for the Propositions S and N construction program on behalf of the San Diego Community College District.

The new instructional building was funded by the $1.555 billion Propositions S and N construction bond program (, which is providing for new teaching and learning facilities, major renovations and campus infrastructure projects at Mesa, City and Miramar colleges, and six continuing education campuses.

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 new three-story, 50,000-square-foot Allied Health Building, which was completed in August of 2009 and awarded a LEED Gold Certification by the USGBC. Additionally McCarthy built the new the Miramar College parking structure and police substation, which was completed in August of 2011 and received LEED Platinum Certification.

Among the largest community colleges in California and the nation, San Diego Mesa College is a fully accredited two-year college offering 160 Associate degree and certificate programs. Recognized as one of the top 100 producers of associate degrees in the nation, Mesa College ranks as San Diego’s top transfer institution. The college also serves as an important economic catalyst for the region. Its career programs and industry alliances offer graduates almost immediate job placement in the fields of allied health, biopharmaceutical, biotechnology, business technology, consumer studies, and more. Other top specialized career programs include fashion, architecture, multimedia, animal health technology, American Sign Language, interior design, and hospitality and event management. More information is available online at

About McCarthy
Recognized as one of the nation’s few true builders, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., is the country’s 8th largest domestic general contractor (Engineering News-Record, May 2012) and the largest general contractor in California. The company is committed to the construction of high performance green buildings; progressive job site technology; and safer, faster and more cost-effective execution. In addition to San Diego, McCarthy has offices in Newport Beach, Sacramento and San Francisco, Calif.; Phoenix; Las Vegas; St. Louis; Dallas; Houston; Atlanta; Albuquerque; Kansas City; and Collinsville, Ill.  McCarthy is 100 percent employee-owned. 

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