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Mesa Commons


Project Delivery Method:
Project Budget:
Construction Duration:
Funding Source:
$44.3 million
2014 - 2016
Proposition N


The new 73,000 square foot Mesa Commons project serves as a student hub and gateway to the campus, housing two cafeterias, campus bookstore, convenience store, coffee café, culinary arts management labs and classroom, student-run M Fusion Dining Café,  faculty and student lounge spaces, conference rooms, as well as campus stockroom, mail and reprographics services.  

Sustainability is a priority for the SDCCD and Mesa Commons is the first building on campus to house a group of cisterns that provide 100% of the site's irrigation needs through reclaimed refrigeration condensate water and collected rain water. An organic roof garden is also a first for the campus. Used by the Culinary Arts Management department and fed by reclaimed refrigeration condensate water housed in a day tank, the garden will provide some of the produce used in the building's student run café.  Multiple solar chimneys, radiant floor heating/cooling, and a substantial solar thermal array all make this building stand out for energy efficiency.    

The building concept is based on rational zoning of the program, placing all "back-of-house" uses adjacent to the large loading area, and all of the public spaces along the new central campus quad. This move, coupled with an open structural system, results in clear circulation paths for goods and services, and is highly flexible for future change. 

Sustainability Features


Storm water:

    • 192,000 gallons - estimated annual storm water runoff collected by the six below ground 1,700 gallon cisterns – reclaimed water is used for site landscaping irrigation
    • Permeable paving is utilized throughout hardscape areas to reduce site storm water runoff, and landscape areas are designed to capture and filter runoff from other areas of the site

Water Efficient Landscaping:

    • 75% reduction from baseline design in total irrigation water needs was achieved through the selection of native and drought tolerant plants – saving 300,696 gallons annually
    • 100% non-potable water – all of the site landscaping irrigation needs are met by reclaimed rainwater runoff collected/stored in six 1,700 gallon water storage cisterns – 98,472 gallons of reclaimed water used annually to irrigate site landscaping
    • 270,000 gallons of condensate water is estimated to be collected annually from HVAC equipment that feeds the below ground cisterns as well as a 700 gallon water storage tank at the second floor Organic Roof Garden.  The tank provides irrigation for the organic food planters that will be managed by the Culinary Arts Department for use in their student Run M Fusion Restaurant.
    • Tree species throughout the project were selected based on solar orientation and will contribute to shading and passive climate control on the building and around the site

Fixture Water Use Reduction:

    • 37% reduction in water use with low-flow toilets, urinals and restroom and kitchen sinks – 148,380 gallons saved annually


On-Site Renewable Energy – Solar Thermal System:

    • 630 million BTU's of clean thermal energy produced annually, offsetting 6.7% of the total building energy use. 
    • 1,457 Kingspan evacuated tubes cover 2,000 sq ft. and shields the mechanical cooling equipment, increasing its operating efficiency, while pre-heating water to 205 degrees and serving the building's hot water needs

Radiant Heating and Cooling System:

    • 7,500 sq ft of radiant heating and cooling – provides even and comfortable warmth in the cooler seasons and cooling in the summer months to occupants in the dining and terrace seating areas
    • 1/2" Viega molecularly cross linked polyethylene with oxygen diffusion barrier (PEX) tubing is tied to the reinforcing steel rebar, which is then covered by the structural concrete slab
    • 1" R-5 insulation laid underneath slab to maintain consistent temperatures

Lighting and Daylighting:

    • High efficiency LED lighting with integrated dimming, occupancy, and daylight sensors are used throughout building to decrease energy use in lighting when not needed
    • Solar tracking skylights use solar powered GPS sun-tracking controllers that accurately calculate location and follow the sun's position regardless of weather or season to reflect the most natural light possible into the building.  They provide comfortable daylighting and reduce electricity use.
    • Daylighting & Views – more than 90% of occupants have a direct line of sight to the outdoors.  The building was designed with public spaces mainly on the north side of the building and service spaces to south to maximize the use of north facing high performance insulating glazing which allows natural light but reduces harmful UV light infiltration and solar heat gain.

Indoor Air Quality and Occupant Comfort:

    • Thermal Comfort Design – comfortable indoor air flow and relative temperature for occupants
    • The Bookstore and Cafeteria Dining areas employ natural ventilation via a passive cooling system that utilizes solar powered exhaust fans and solar chimneys to harnesses ocean breezes to cool the spaces without the use of mechanical ventilation.  Harnessing the "stack effect," the solar chimneys create a negative pressured, double-storied shaft that draws hot air from each space by the use of thermal (trombe) walls at the roof level to heat and draw hot air out of the building. Each space can choose mechanical or passive cooling with a simple on/off switch that tracks exterior conditions to determine optimal times for passive cooling.
    • Low or zero emitting VOC (volatile organic compounds) materials such as paints, sealants, and adhesives are used throughout the project to improve indoor air quality and minimize harmful airborne irritants.

Sustainable Materials:

    • The project maximizes the use of materials with recycled content and sustainably harvested materials.  Some of these materials in the project include; wood slat ceilings, composite wood fencing, cork flooring, tectum ceiling panels, as well as carpets and structural steel fabricated with high recycled content.
    • Light colored, highly reflective roofing materials were selected to reduce solar heat gain in the building and reduce the heat island effect on the surrounding campus
    • The building envelope is highly insulated to conserve energy and enhance thermal comfort for the users

Project Team:

Design-Build Team: Balfour Beatty Construction, SGPA Architecture and Planning, and The Miller Hull Partnership 

Civil Engineer: Latitude 33

Electrical Engineer: Stantec

Mechanical/Plumbing Engineer: MA Engineers

Structural Engineer: Hope-Amundson

Landscape Architect: McCullough Landscape Architecture

FF&E/Interior Design Consultant: ID Studios

Signage Consultant: Graphic Solutions, Inc.

Food Service Consultant: R.W. Smith and Co.

Bookstore Design Consultant: College Store Design

Solar Thermal Consultant: Adroit Solar

Inspectors: Joe Cochran and Tim Olk

Propositions S & N Program Manager: Gafcon, Inc.

Campus Project Manager: Jim Bray, Gafcon, Inc.

Project Manager: Brian Browning, Gafcon, Inc.

Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment (FF&E) Project Manager: Christine Conroy, Gafcon, Inc.