Wellness & Aquatic Complex Wins Green Design Award

By Aziza Jackson

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Southwestern College (SWC) was recently awarded the City of Chula Vista’s Green Building Design Award for the construction of the new Wellness & Aquatics Complex as part of its annual Ribbons & Shovels awards. The 12 awards highlight community projects that improve and enhance the appearance of Chula Vista and celebrate the best in art, architecture, landscape, historic preservation and environment.

The Green Building Design Award promotes green, sustainable, and eco-friendly design and construction projects. The Wellness and Aquatic Complex is LEED registered and is currently targeting gold certification. It uses reduction measures and includes low-flow fixtures and infrastructure for reclaimed water use. Energy reduction is achieved by connecting high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment to the college’s central utility plant, and through LED lighting with daylighting controls throughout.

“The Wellness & Aquatic Complex has been a long-time dream for our students and our community and we are so honored to receive this award that highlights its design and sustainability,” said Superintendent/President Kindred Murillo. “We are so grateful to the community for its continued investment of our students, our programs and our facilities.”

The Wellness and Aquatics Center is a 75,000-square-foot facility built on the corner of East H Street and Otay Lakes Road. The new facility, which opened its doors to students and community members in January 2018, features a gymnasium, fitness labs, cardio workout rooms, locker rooms, two Olympic-sized swimming pools and a 25-meter therapy pool. The Wellness & Aquatics Complex also features Maya-inspired glyphs designed by Southwestern College professor Dr. Mark Van Stone.

The building also houses training and testing rooms, offices, and multipurpose exercise rooms. From its site on a prominent campus corner, the complex is highly visible, providing convenient access to wellness services for students and the local community.

The $52 million complex was designed by the architecture firm Gensler, who also designed the DeVore Stadium Fieldhouse, and was built by Balfour Beatty construction company with the help of local union plumbers, electricians and more. The new Wellness & Aquatics Complex is funded by Proposition R, a $389 million general obligation bond passed by voters in South Bay in November 2008.

Community members are invited to access health programs with a membership to the Health First Fitness Club. Health programs range from fitness and swimming classes to individual training, with programs for children, families, adults and seniors.

“Gensler is proud to be recognized by the City of Chula Vista for our contribution towards the sustainable design performance of Southwestern College’s new Wellness & Aquatics Complex,” said Tom Heffernan, principal architect at Gensler.  “Targeting LEED Gold Certification, the Wellness & Aquatics Complex exemplifies SWC’s commitment to creating new facilities that not only conserve energy and water resources, but provide healthful environments for students, staff and community members. This new project supports SWC’s desire to bring the local community and the college together in a meaningful and enduring way. Not only does the complex serve the wellness and athletic needs of SWC students, it also serves the local community by offering members access to a range of fitness and swimming activities, with programs for children, families, adults and seniors.”