Press Release: 01.13.2012

Poised for Platinum

San Diego Miramar College project will be a LEED first for higher education institutions in San Diego County.

Miramar College Parking Structure and Police Substation
San Diego Community College District

San Diego, California

“McCarthy succeeded in completing this attractive, cost-effective and efficient parking structure ahead of schedule, while incorporating innovative design elements into the adjacent police substation that have allowed us to pursue LEED Platinum certification.”
—David Umstot, vice chancellor of facilities management, San Diego Community College District

Representing the highest standards to date for performance and sustainability of educational facilities in Southern California, the new 270,000-square-foot, 828-space parking structure and adjacent 5,108-square-foot police substation at San Diego Miramar College was completed by McCarthy on behalf of the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) in late November.

The police substation portion of the $17.9 million project is on track to receive LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the first higher education institution in San Diego County to achieve such LEED status.

The four-story, above-grade Miramar College parking structure is constructed with poured-in-place, reinforced concrete. The scope of work for McCarthy included all related site work, including installation of drought-tolerant landscaping and high-efficiency irrigation systems that use reclaimed water.

The adjacent single-story police substation provides a central hub for campus safety and security, wayfinding and parking permits. The facility encompasses a reception area, conference room, office areas and a secure suspect processing area. These spaces are organized along the building’s perimeter to provide a welcoming, well-lit area that maximizes natural daylight. The terra cotta façade helps tie the new facility to the look and feel of the existing buildings on campus.

Key to its sustainable design is a green roof grid system, covering the majority of the roof deck. The grid system uses modular panels for ease of installation, roof access and maintenance. A green screen, designed to achieve the look of a vertical garden, covers the west elevation of the parking structure. The vegetation used will contribute to a microclimate that is central to the facility's passive thermal and natural ventilation design.

The xeriscape plants incorporated into the roof system significantly reduced the need for stormwater infrastructure conveyance and retention systems. They also will help remove impurities from stormwater runoff, while reducing maintenance costs for filtration systems.

Additionally, the green roof and wall systems will help reduce the heat island effect and complement the benefits of the pervious pavement used in the parking area. The green screen on the west elevation of the parking structure will further contribute to lower ambient heat gain, both within the police substation and the new parking structure.

The tower element of the police station serves as a solar chimney – a passive solar strategy used to create a flow of natural ventilation. The top of the tower will heat up, and louvers will provide for air exhaust at the high point. Inside the building, exposed concrete walls and ceiling will create a thermal mass that can store heat during the day and release it during the night to keep the building comfortable during operating hours. 

An array of other sustainable design features factor into the building’s LEED Platinum level of sustainable design, including:

  • Terra cotta rain screens that create a vented façade and increase building envelope energy efficiency
  • Curtain walls that have horizontal exterior siding on the south, vertical fins on the east, and a large glazed area facing north
  • Operable windows that provide natural ventilation
  • Solatube skylights that capture natural light and enhance work conditions for occupants
  • Use of reclaimed water for flushing toilets
  • Suspended ceiling clouds that enhance acoustical performance while serving as reflectors for daylight
  • “Cradle to cradle”-certified finish materials, renewable and recycled flooring, and low-emitting casework materials

The reception area of the police substation showcases a recessed, interactive flat-screen panel informing visitors of the building's sustainable features and reinforcing Miramar College's sustainability goals.

Working collaboratively with the SDCCD and the campus police department was paramount to the success of the project, explained McCarthy Project Director Bob Betz.

“Numerous coordination meetings were held throughout the design phase of the project to ensure that the requirements of the district and the users were integrated into the design, all while retaining the sustainable features needed to achieve LEED Platinum certification,” said Betz. “The McCarthy team is very proud to have completed the parking structure and the police station ahead of schedule, and to have played a role in the design and construction of one of the most sustainable projects on any of the district’s campuses.”

The project is part of the SDCCD’s $1.555 billion Propositions S and N construction program, providing for new instructional and career training facilities, major renovations, campus-wide infrastructure projects, and parking and public safety enhancements at City, Mesa and Miramar colleges, plus six Continuing Education campuses in the region.

Harley Ellis Devereaux served as the architect for the police substation, and International Parking Design provided architectural services on the parking structure component. Jessen Wright Structural Engineers was the structural engineer; Randall Lamb Associates, electrical engineer; SC Engineers, mechanical engineer; and Burkett & Wong Engineers, civil engineer. Schmidt Design Group served as the landscape architect. Gafcon Inc. serves as the program manager for the Propositions S and N construction bond program.

Project Personnel:
Director: Bob Betz
Manager: Jason Mrozek
Superintendents: Robert Gustine, Cesar Maduro
Staff: Tiffany Aaronson, Mickey Benevidez, Chris Meichowski

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