Construction begins on $55 million HGA-designed studen success center at East Los Angeles College


Net Zero Energy and flexible design supports campus’ emerging shift toward sustainability

MONTEREY PARK, CA – February 28, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — Construction has begun on the HGA Architects and Engineers-designed Student Success and Retention Center at East Los Angeles College. Part of the campus’ ongoing initiative to build state-of-the-art, sustainable structures, the $55 million, 136,000-square-foot complex will consolidate various once-dispersed departments to create learning environments for the diverse student body. HGA’s project scope includes planning, design, interior design and sustainability, and is slated for completion in late 2014. The facility is designed to achieve LEED® Gold certification, and has a future plan for Net Zero Energy – a design principal where buildings produce as much energy on-site as they consume.

Part of a design-build competition, the five-story structure lies on a dense urban campus and will consolidate nine departments into flexible learning environments, including classrooms, offices, common areas and success center labs such as languages, reading and writing. Adaptable classrooms allow re-arrangement of furniture configurations for different learning options, thus encouraging collaborative student-faculty interaction.
“Creating flexible spaces that easily reconfigure for multiple uses and teaching modalities is an important component of the design, as needs and programs will evolve throughout the years,” said James Matson, AIA, HGA’s principal-in-charge. “Our design takes full advantage of the natural environment and will create a building that will not only encourage collaborative student-faculty interaction, but also set a benchmark for sustainability.”

HGA designed the centrally located structure to feature alternative learning spaces that allow for a variety of teaching styles. An open-air courtyard, which separates the faculty offices and classrooms into two distinct wings, serves as the building’s main entrance and vertical circulation spine. Tutoring and learning labs are located along the first and second levels. Additional features include both interior and exterior student collaboration spaces and an exterior stepped terrace that can double as an outdoor classroom and collaborative meeting area.

Seventy percent of all classrooms and offices are located within 25 feet of operable windows and incorporate both natural ventilation and daylighting. Operable windows can be controlled through the Building Management System for optimized energy performance. A second outdoor classroom atrium and third enclosed office atrium offer informal student gathering spaces while further reinforcing natural ventilation, daylighting and visual connectivity between floors.
Utilizing the latest in 3-D BIM (building information modeling) technology and rapid prototyping, HGA also conducted wind and daylight studies to create an ideal learning environment for the campus population. Many sustainable strategies were incorporated in this high performance building design which includes the use of high-efficiency mechanical systems, sustainable lighting technologies, solar shading and water-efficient landscaping. Bio-mimicry, a design approach that seeks sustainable solutions by emulating nature’s patterns and strategies, was also incorporated in the project.

The Student Success and Retention Center at East Los Angeles College joins a number of HGA-designed education projects, such as the “Zero-Plus” College of the Desert West Valley Campus Phase 1 and the Harbor College Sciences Complex. Both projects are targeting LEED® Platinum certification and pursuing Zero Energy goals.

Joining Matson on HGA’s design team is project designer Satoshi Teshima, AIA, LEED® AP BD&C, Patrick Thibaudeau, LEED® AP BD&C, handling sustainability and Eric Chang, LEED® AP BD&C, project manager.

Pinner Construction is the general contractor for the design-build project. Consultants include: Saiful/Bouquet, structural engineering; FBA and Associates, electrical engineering; and Fundament & Associates, mechanical engineering.

Program Statistics

The 136,000-square-foot, five-story building provides classrooms, offices, languages labs and common spaces serving nine once-dispersed departments, including:

• English/Reading/Writing Lab
• Learning Assistance Center
• ESL/Foreign Language Labs
• Foreign Languages
• Speech
• Chicano Studies
• English
• Non-Credit Program
• Honors Program

Sustainable Details

• LEED® Gold
• Zero Energy Goals
• Restorative Design
• Biomimicry
• Natural ventilation
• High-performance glazing
• High-efficiency mechanical systems
• Radiant cooling
• Daylighting strategies
• High-efficiency lighting
• Solar shading
• Reduced plug loads
• Energy recovery wheel
• Water-use reduction
• Low-emitting durable materials
• High-albedo roof
• Water-efficient landscaping

HGA is an integrated architecture, engineering and planning firm that helps prepare its clients for the future. With offices in Minneapolis and Rochester, Minnesota; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento, California; and Washington DC, the nationally recognized firm has developed expertise in the healthcare, corporate, government, arts, community, education, and science/technology industries since 1953. HGA’s culture for interdisciplinary collaboration, knowledge sharing and design investiga¬tion enables its clients to achieve success with responsive, innovative and sustainable design. Visit or follow the firm on Facebook or Twitter.


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