Mesa Commons will become the new social living room for Mesa College. The building will help students create a campus identity beyond that of a traditional commuter campus and enable a stronger bond amongst the student body.Lance Lareau, District Architect, San Diego Community College District
A collaboration with SGPA (Executive Architect) and Balfour Beatty (General Contractor), this 60,000 square foot building serves as a student hub and campus gateway including two cafeterias, campus bookstore, convenience store, coffee café, culinary arts management labs, faculty and student lounge spaces, conference rooms, as well as campus stockroom, mail and reprographics services. Blending such diverse programs into a single “living room” proved to be a rewarding exercise, resulting in an exciting building for the campus. The building concept is based on rational zoning, placing all “back-of-house” uses adjacent to a large loading area and all public spaces along a new central campus quad and promenade. This move, coupled with an open structural system, results in clear circulation paths for goods and services, a transparent and open facade for student access and interaction, and a highly flexible building to accommodate future changes.
Sustainability was a priority for the client. The building is the first on campus to house cisterns, through which 100% of the site’s irrigation needs are provided by collection of reclaimed refrigeration condensate water and rain water. An organic roof garden is also supported by this reclaimed water source and is another first for the campus. The rooftop garden nets fresh produce for the Culinary Arts Management department in a student run ‘farm-to-table’ café. Additionally, multiple solar chimneys, radiant floor heating/cooling and a substantial solar thermal array make this building a stand out for energy efficiency and passive comfort.