San Diego Area Community College Moves Ahead on Biotech Building

By Eric Althoff

OCEANSIDE, Calif.—Architecture and engineering company HED is partnering with California-based general contractor C.W. Driver to realize a new science building for San Diego County’s MiraCosta Community College District (MCCD). The design-build project will update and expand the district’s biotech teaching capabilities with 24,000 square feet of dedicated STEM instructional space that is tailored for 21st century instruction.

The $37.4 million MiraCosta Community College Chemistry and Biotech building will feature a bevy of chemistry laboratories, classrooms and other science support areas. The building will also provide a new home for MCCD’s biotech program as it continues to expand and offer a baccalaureate degree.

The new biotech building will be part of MCCD’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) quad and plaza, which sits on the northeastern part of the college’s campus in Oceanside.

C.W. Driver and HED are working jointly to ensure that the chemistry and biotech building blends seamlessly into the Southern California architectural aesthetic that is part of San Diego County’s aesthetic. Accordingly, it will be a structure that is strong but also will shine in the ample sunlight of the local climate. A “big roof” will offer an outdoor area for events that is both shaded from the sun as well as protected in case of rain—and also offers a transition from outdoor to indoor space as the visitor approaches and steps under the roof’s shadow.

The exterior elements include porches of various widths, both covered and uncovered, as well as some that are screened in. Such spaces will serve as relaxation and meeting environments. These areas will also connect students and staff to the building, as well as offer an exterior element meant to open up the visitor’s experience of the larger campus environment.

The new facility will serve to advance MCCD’s STEM curriculum, and it will offer the latest technological innovations for use in classrooms, laboratories and various other learning spaces as well.

In a recent statement, Jennette La Quire, principal and project leader with HED, said that the facility’s “science on display” approach will serve to stimulate student interest in the new construction while “sharing aspects of the Chemistry and Biotech programs with visitors as well.”

“Large windows and continuous circulation routes allow easy circulation around the building without disturbing classes and labs,” said La Quire.

“This new facility is an investment beyond just MCCD’s campus as their STEM graduates go on to create positive impact in their communities,” added Andy Feth, project executive with C.W. Driver. “The HED and C.W. Driver teams are pleased to be part of creating this valuable new hub for that advancement.”

The MiraCosta Community College District has served northern San Diego County for 80 years. Nearly 20,000 students are currently enrolled across more than 70 of its learning disciplines.