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Higher Education Case Study: Future Proof

Written by Anne Vazquez. Posted in Case Study, Construction & Renovation, Environment, Featured Post, In-Depth Articles, Interiors, Magazine, Safety, Security, Sustainability, Technology, Topics

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Published on August 15, 2013 with No Comments

Included in the facility’s design was a plaza area to encourage interaction among occupants. (Photo: Mt. San Jacinto College.)

Included in the facility’s design was a plaza area to encourage interaction among occupants. (Photo: Mt. San Jacinto College.)

By Anne Vazquez
From the July 2013 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

One of 72 districts that comprise the California Community Colleges system, Mt. San Jacinto College (MSJC) has experienced significant growth over the past decade. Situated east of Los Angeles, MSJC operates on four campuses—San Jacinto (the original, founded in 1963), Menifee Valley, Temecula Education Complex, and San Gorgonio Pass.

In recent years, the student population across all campuses has skyrocketed, with enrollment increasing 75% over the 10 year period ending in 2009. At its peak, there were about 26,000 students, and today there are 20,000. In 2010, MSJC received an $11.2 million state funded grant to accommodate the influx of students, and leadership there launched an extensive planning and development to ensure updated facilities were in place for the future.

A Chat With Scott Kasper

Scott Kasper Facilities Site Supervisor Mt. San Jacinto College  Menifee, CA

Scott Kasper
Facilities Site Supervisor
Mt. San Jacinto College
Menifee, CA

What are your responsibilities at Mt. San Jacinto College?  In my position, I provide planning, organization, evaluation, supervision, and participation in custodial and grounds operations as well as maintenance and repair of district buildings, facilities, and equipment. Above all, I help ensure a clean and safe learning environment is maintained for our students to help allow them the best opportunity to succeed in their learning endeavors.

How long have you worked at the college?  I have worked here for 12 years.

How has the new building, or recent facility management developments in general, impacted the way you and your team do your jobs? I have found that the ever evolving world of both technology and sustainability have allowed us to be more focused on what we are here for: maintenance.

The use of sustainable materials has proven to be beneficial, as many of them are not as labor intense or time consuming as older ones might be to maintain. This helps us to move toward being more successfully “green.” People, especially students, are very eco-conscious these days. Our new building and implementation of some of the ideas into even smaller jobs shows them we care about the world they are inheriting.

Opened in 1990, the Menifee Valley campus is the second largest in the MSJC system, serving about 7,000 students each semester. As part of the college wide expansion plan, this campus saw the opening of a new Humanities & Social Sciences facility in September 2012. The new complex is made up of three, two story buildings and contains 33,885 square feet. Among the departments served are English, political science, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and communications.

With a striking exterior design and state-of-the-art teaching technology, the new facility is a welcome addition to the campus and its occupants. The former humanities and social sciences facilities consisted of eight portable structures, which contained classrooms and faculty offices. Today, students, faculty, and staff enjoy eight classrooms, seven science and computer labs, and two assembly spaces. There are also 16 faculty offices as well as several meeting rooms.

The MSJC project team worked closely with C.W. Driver, the construction manager on the job, to deliver a building that would advance the technological and sustainability profile of the college, while staying within budget. Also part of the design process was GKK Works, an Irvine, CA architectural firm hired by the college, along with input from facilities staff, faculty, students, and other stakeholders.

Mike Webster, a consultant to MSJC who headed up the project for the college, says, “There was a good deal of value engineering that took place toward the end of the design process once the facility programs had been identified. That’s one of the reasons it is a wood framed building. It took nearly three years to fund the building, but when it was finally funded, the economy had turned around to the point that the district received very good bids, and we actually sent money back to the state.”

The facilities team was involved in the project throughout, and Scott Kasper, facilities site supervisor for the campus, says, “The new Humanities & Social Sciences building has showed us some of the new ideas, materials, and processes that are available, and this has allowed us to integrate these items into new and even smaller projects we are executing.”

Technology To Support Growth

A hallmark of the new facility at the Menifee Valley campus is the prevalence of technology tools, for both educational purposes and facility management.

To encourage student participation and alternative learning styles, the buildings provide a variety of learning spaces in conjunction with standard classrooms, such as wet labs for hands-on applications, language labs with smaller interior rooms for group conversations, and a communications studies center where students can observe social interactions or participate in role playing. Also featured are four “smartboards,” which save lecture notes in electronic form to be posted on the MSJC website, further enhancing the learning experience.

Construction of this new facility was completely supported by state funds that were earmarked to be used only for construction, equipment, and furniture for the building. (Photo: Mt. San Jacinto College.)

Construction of this new facility was completely supported by state funds that were earmarked to be used only for construction, equipment, and furniture for the building. (Photo: Mt. San Jacinto College.)

Despite budget limitations, bid strategies and forward thinking enabled the team to include things that hadn’t been thought possible at the outset. For instance, an automated energy management system has improved efficiency and operations. And, the team took the opportunity to unify fire alarm systems from three existing buildings into one panel in this new facility.

Lynn Purper of C.W. Driver oversaw the project on-site, serving as project manager, and she kept an eye on how the college could enhance not only the humanities and social sciences building, but the campus overall.

“Even if the project couldn’t afford to install a whole system, where it made sense we installed infrastructure for future growth,” Purper explains. “For instance, as we were through the rough framing we started putting in the conduit (the backbone) for security cameras. There were cameras installed as part of this project, but the additional conduit we installed means it is there for future needs. We started that work early enough that there was a cost savings.”

Elevated Sustainability

Connected by covered walkways, the three buildings that make up the new Humanities & Social Sciences complex (also referred to as “the 400 building”) include several “green” aspects. Meanwhile, an outdoor plaza featuring drought tolerant plantings serves as a gathering space for students.

Commenting on the sustainability aspects, Kasper explains how the products that were specified are translating to benefits for his staff as well as occupants. “Items such as the no wax floor tiles and the carpet tiles make for easy cleaning and simple replacement in the case of a stain that can’t be removed” he says.

There are seven computer and science labs housed in the new humanities & social sciences building. (Photo: Mt. San Jacinto College.)

There are seven computer and science labs housed in the new humanities & social sciences building. (Photo: Mt. San Jacinto College.)

“And the large windows on the south side of the building aid in adding ambient light, which cuts down on electricity consumption. We also have a programmable timer for exterior lighting and some of the interior,” he continues. “Xeriscaping [the drought tolerant landscaping] makes for easy clean up and promotes water conservation. The addition of this building has prompted us to adjust some of our standards to more updated ones.”

In her work Purper regularly takes into account how the facilities staff and the occupants will use a building, once it has opened. With that in mind, she made the effort to talk with Kasper and his staff, the IT head, faculty, and end-users throughout the project design and construction.

Discussing her interaction with the facilities team, she says, “I showed them my submittal for the light fixtures for their insight before it was approved. And we talked about the paint and what type they normally use or would prefer.”

The Next Era

As MSJC continues to move forward with expansion plans, on each of its campuses, the new Humanities & Social Sciences facility is one of the more recent accomplishments—and one the college may look to for insight.

Covered walkways between the complex buildings serve to not only protect people from the elements, but also to facilitate movement. (Photo: Mt. San Jacinto College.)

Covered walkways between the complex buildings serve to not only protect people from the elements, but also to facilitate movement. (Photo: Mt. San Jacinto College.)

Webster shares, “The building is built in a way that it’s future proof, meaning any demand that the educational program and the faculty puts on the building, in the way of utilities or support from its infrastructure, is in place to handle it. The electrical systems were beefed up; the data systems were beefed up; the energy management control system is very sophisticated. The college will not have to remodel should they decide it needs more in addition to what is already there.”

Making It Work

“We are thrilled to provide the Menifee Valley Campus with a new, state-of-the-art humanities and social sciences facility that our students and faculty will enjoy for years to come,” says Webster, who noted that the last new building to open on the campus was the Business and Technology Center in the spring of 2008.

During the grand opening in the fall of 2012, MSJC President, Mary Lucas, recalled her days of attending the San Jacinto campus more than 40 years ago. “It was just four buildings, dirt and tumbleweed,” she said. “Now when I come onto this campus, I think the kids are so lucky.”

This article is based on interviews with Kasper, Purper, and Webster. To share your new construction or renovation story, send an e-mail to avazquez@groupc.com.

Project Information:

Name of Organization: Mt. San Jacinto College, Menifee Valley Campus. Facility Name: Humanities & Social Sciences Complex. Function: Higher Education. Location: Menifee, CA. Square Footage: 33,885. Budget: $10 million (final cost). Construction Timetable: May 2011 to June 2012. Owner: Mt. San Jacinto Community College District. In-House Project Manager: Mike Webster. In-House Facility Manager: Scott Kasper. Architect: GKK Works. General Contractor: C.W. Driver. Electrical/Mechanical Engineer: Fundament and Associates. Structural Engineer: Saiful Bouquet.

Product Information:

Fixed Seating: KI. Flooring: Daltile (ceramic tile); Forbo (Marmoleum composition tile). Carpet: Lees (carpet tile). Ceilings: USG (acoustic tile). Paint: Frazee Paint. Wall Surfacing: Koroseal (decorative textiles). Window Treatments: Skyco Shading Systems, Inc. Fire System Components: Notifier. Lighting Products: Finelite; HE Williams; Leviton Lighting; PMC Lighting. Roofing: GAF Materials Corp. (built up roof). Elevators/Escalators: ThyssenKrupp. Power Supply: Cutler-Hammer (transformers and panelboards); DT Transformer (dry type transformer). Projection Screens: DA Lite Screens Co.

About Anne Vazquez

Anne Vazquez

Vazquez has been writing about facility management since 1996 when she began working at Today's Facility Manager (TFM) as the magazine's Editorial Assistant. From 2000 to 2005, she continued to work in publishing in another subject field until rejoining TFM's editorial team as Managing Editor in February 2005. In September 2012, she was promoted to Editor of TFM, where she continues to seek out solutions and trends for the magazine's facility management audience. Vazquez can be reached at avazquez@groupc.com.

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