SAN DIEGO – A crowd of more than 150 students, faculty, staff, and special guests turned out Wednesday to herald the opening of the new Math+Science Complex at San Diego Mesa College, which, at 206,000 gross square feet, is the largest instructional facility in all of California’s 112 community colleges.
The $109 million, four-story complex provides an expansive and modern new home for transfer and certificate programs in Biology, Chemistry, Physical Sciences and Mathematics. It includes “smart” classrooms, state-of-the-art teaching and computer laboratories, and innovative outdoor learning spaces.
“This is not just a building, it’s a rich learning environment built to encourage creative problem solving, scientific discovery and critical thinking,” said Pamela Luster, President of San Diego Mesa College. “The faculty, staff and administrators worked very hard to create a space where students learn in and out of the classroom, by having study areas, classrooms and labs co-located for continuous study.”
Chancellor Constance Carroll praised the facility for being worthy of faculty who are at the top of their fields and deserve facilities which match their expertise and excellence.
"The new Math+Science Complex at Mesa College illustrates not only the San Diego Community College District's commitment to provide an educational experience for our students that is second to none, but it also underscores the District's pledge to prudently spend Proposition S and N funding," she said.
The new complex was funded as part of the District’s $1.555 billion Propositions S and N construction bond program, which is providing for new instructional and career training facilities, major renovations, infrastructure projects, parking, and public safety and ADA enhancements at City, Mesa and Miramar colleges, and seven San Diego Continuing Education locations throughout the District.
"This state-of-the-art building will help ensure that the San Diego Community College District will continue to prepare our students for a job market where math and science skills are at a premium," said Rich Grosch, President of the District’s Board of Trustees. “We really have to thank the voters for these beautiful buildings.”
In addition to cutting-edge technology throughout, the complex includes numerous study spaces. Small group areas feature glass walls where formulas are often drawn for interactive study. Specialty spaces include a greenhouse and astronomy observation center.
Exterior learning spaces will include several gardens with global microclimate themes, including a San Diego Native Species Garden, a South African Garden and an Australian garden. An interior courtyard features a “geo-garden” and three six-foot tall stone wall segments depicting the earth’s layers.
Faculty members, many of whom have spent years working with the design team on instructional programming needs, praised the design for promoting learning inside and outside of classrooms and laboratories.
“What began more than 11 years ago stands before you as a testament to ideals, perseverance, and hard work…our planning from the very beginning was driven by our students,” said Saeid Eidgahy, Dean of the School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. “Our research kept confirming that more student learning takes place outside of rather than inside of the classroom, thus our primary objective was to create nothing less than a home for our students.”
Student leaders also thanked San Diego voters for the facilities transformations they say will benefit future generations to come.
“You have your own space to work in, it’s like your own home,” said Yvonne Roca, a Biology major graduating this summer. “It’s motivating to have a facility like this because it because it makes you want to keep going. It encourages you to study and do better in your classes.”
All construction and major renovations by the San Diego Community College District are designed and built to obtain the highest possible certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. The Mesa College Math+Science Complex, on track for a LEED Silver certification, includes a number of sustainable features: