On-Campus Student Health Center Creates Uplifting Environment

SAN MARCOS, Calif. — C.W. Driver, a construction manager headquartered in Pasadena, Calif., broke ground on the new 20,000-square-foot Student Health and Counseling Building (SHCB) at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM).

Designed by Los Angeles-based HMC Architects, the $7.5 million health center is “long overdue,” according to Richard Freeark, C.W. Driver’s vice president of operations. The current student health facility is housed in an off-campus rental space and has outdated resources and equipment.

The goal is to make the building as efficient as possible — it is designed to achieve LEED Gold — while incorporating it with the other projects and campus master plan. “We wanted to emphasize a calming, healing and uplifting environment,” Freeark said.

The building will house clinical areas, counseling, group conferences, health education and a pharmacy. The 10 student exam rooms and 186-square-foot wellness resort area both incorporate daylight. Climate and solar data was used to determine the size and location of windows, as well as passive shading elements for the building, according to Andy Feth, project director with C.W. Driver.

“The new facility has been strategically placed to take advantage of the site characteristics,” Feth said in a statement. “Because it is located on a hill, the project will consist of a one-story wing and a two-story wing, which are connected with a bridge. A hub at the main waiting area is located near the entrance to create a clear sense of place on the main pedestrian spine of the campus.”

The building is targeting 63 points for LEED Gold certification, and several of them will be qualified through energy-efficient interior lighting, as well as the use of automatic daylighting controls and occupancy sensors. Building materials will also have a high recycling content, and high-efficiency irrigation technology, including drip irrigation, will be used.

The project’s other green building elements include four bio-retention areas to treat storm water before it disperses into the storm system and high-efficiency water fixtures to allow 30 percent water savings. Construction elements include a thermoplastic, single-ply roofing system, concrete masonry and a storm-resistant aluminum curtain wall.

Compared to other health care projects Freeark has worked on, this one is different because of its service on an institutional campus. “Students are typically pretty healthy, so it’s a different aspect from [other health facilities],” he said. “The investment by the Cal State system to provide a modern service to the students and really incorporate the things you would want—efficiencies, LEED Gold, an environment that’s uplifting—all take into account that this is a health and wellness center. It’s different than thinking back on most campuses that had outdated centers and you hated going to them.”

The center’s proximity to the new student union is also ideal for the students and the facility. “The center was housed off-campus for a number of years, so it’s a pretty big deal to have it now located on campus,” Freeark said.

The design-build project is slated for completion in 2014.

%d bloggers like this: