San Diego Mesa College Social and Behavioral Sciences building. The three-story, 73,714-square-foot building is the latest facility funded by the San Diego Community College District’s (SDCCD) $1.555 billion Propositions S and N construction bond program.
Funded by Proposition S, the $40.5 million building includes 66,000 square feet of “smart” classrooms, as well as laboratory spaces for Psychology, Anthropology, and Geography programs. The building layout includes a series of courtyards that open toward the future Mesa College Quad and also provide daylighting and natural ventilation opportunities to the majority of the interior spaces. The facility has faculty and administrative offices, lobby and exhibit space, and the third floor features a multi-use patio.
Maria Nieto Senour, President, San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees remarked, “This building is a really important one. It’s going to support academic disciplines that are at the heart of the social services that our community and our government provide for residents…it also houses other disciplines that are pertinent to the humanities and the understanding of the fundamental principles of human behavior and history.”
The School of Social/Behavioral Sciences and Multicultural Studies is the second largest instructional school at Mesa College, providing instruction in a diverse array of disciplines. Event participants enjoyed tours of the facility, educations displays from students, and laboratory demonstrations from various faculty members. “The Proposition S-funded Social and Behavioral Sciences building has opened its doors to students and faculty with state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities, preparing San Diego’s students for a variety of careers across a wide range of disciplines,” said SDCCD Chancellor Constance M. Carroll.
Two of the school’s programs, Psychology and Sociology, are among Mesa College’s top associate degree and transfer programs. Departments now housed in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Building include Anthropology, Geography, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology, as well as Communication Studies and Exercise Science Health classes. Three other departments of the School, Black Studies, Chicano/a Studies, and Architecture and Environmental Design, are housed at two different locations.
“It is inspiring to watch the transformation of Mesa College…as they have with the opening of each new building, the students have taken over the Social and Behavioral Sciences Building and made it their own,” said Mesa College President Pamela T. Luster. “To watch the interaction between faculty and students, and to see the true educational benefits that these facilities bring, underscores the return on investment that the voters of San Diego have made to education and to Mesa College. Thank you.”
Danielle Taylor, student and President of the Psi Beta Psychology Honor Society, captured the whole experience in one thought, “Just as proud parents watch their child’s first step; it is easy to enjoy the same fulfillment in the realization of this magnificent building, except that the first steps belong to all of these students around you, moving forward into their futures.”
The SDCCD has made conservation and sustainability a top priority throughout its four campuses. The District’s Green Building Policy requires that all new buildings and major renovations obtain at least a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Mesa College Social and Behavioral Sciences building follows in that tradition and is on track to obtain a LEED Silver Certification and boasts a number of innovative, sustainable features:
· A high albedo roof was installed, which reduces the heat island effect on the building
· Low-flow fixtures were installed to minimize water use
· Along with water-efficient landscaping, a high-efficiency drip irrigation system is being used to minimize water consumption
· Materials with high recycled content were used throughout the building
· The use of low volatile organic compound (VOC) emitting materials improves indoor air quality
· Windows were installed with sensors that shut down mechanical units when the windows are open
· Low-E glazing maximizes natural daylighting and reduces energy required to power artificial lighting and cooling systems
· Daylight sensors automatically dim lights in response to changing lighting conditions
· Highly efficient mechanical systems to reduce energy consumption and exceed CA Title 24 energy efficiency standards by approximately 25%
· 75% of construction materials, including waste and debris, was diverted from landfills