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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

College Gets New Campus Gateway

MiraCosta College has started construction of a $38 million student services building that will be a new gateway to its Oceanside campus.

Designed by DLR Group, the 30,040 square-foot building will be the first building people come to as they arrive on campus, said Alketa Wojcik, vice president of student services.

“You won’t be able to miss it,” Wojcik said. “Every student that wants to attend the college will have a contact with this building.”

Construction is scheduled to be completed in July 2023. Swinerton is the general contractor and Lynn Capouya, Inc. is the landscape architect.

The two-story building is meant to stand out but not in a way that’s “too bold or overpowering,” said Matthew Streed, higher education design leader of DLR Group.

A Clear Route

Approached from the front, people will see an impressive staircase leading into the building.

Seen from the rear, the building presents a more modest look meant to blend in with the rest of the campus.

“The building is really split into two parts and right through the center is this kind of copper-colored space and that’s what leads up to campus,” Streed said. “Any visitor will say, ‘oh, that’s where I should go.’ It’s a very clear route to the campus. One of the goals of the building was to improve accessibility to campus. We turned the whole building into that entryway. When you enter campus, you’re actually going through the building to get there.”

The front of the building has a 25-foot glass wall, Streed said.

“There’s a lot of transparency to what’s going on inside the building,” Streed said. “When you first approach the building, you’ll see a grand staircase, you see a big glass wall that looks into the building.”

Wojcik said that transparent look is meant to invite students inside and give them a feel for what services are in the building before they even enter.

“One of the things we want to make sure of is that students can see themselves in that building, that it is a warm and welcoming environment,” Wojcik said.

Getting Answers

The new Student Services Building will consolidate services that are scattered in five separate locations around the Oceanside campus, Wojcik said.

“They’re very disjointed in location,” Wojcik said. She said the Student Services Building will be “a true one-stop center to support students from the first contact at the college all the way through graduation and career.”

“When they enter the building, they’re going to get answers from how do I apply to ‘I’m graduating this year and I need a job,’” Wojcik said.

Among the services being consolidated in the new building are admissions, records, financial aid, academic counseling, a computer lab, a testing lab, health services with patient rooms and therapy rooms, and a food bank.

“One of the things that the (COVID) pandemic has brought to light is the food insecurity that a lot of students have,” Streed said.

Wojcik said an important element in the design of the new building was to ensure that students don’t get frustrated or get lost in a bureaucracy.

 “One of the things we focused on is the handoff from one service to the other,” Wojcik said. “If a student comes to the admissions office and they ask a question about testing, the last thing we want to tell them is ‘this is the wrong office.’ If they leave that office feeling ‘I asked the wrong question’ or ‘I don’t know where to go to answer that question,’ then we lost them.”

The building also will be the new home of the college’s Veterans Center. The college serves about 3,000 veterans and their families, Wojcik said.

The project also will include a new drop-off area in front of the building, designed to accommodate ride-sharing with a bus stop added.

Stress Relief

The site is what had been Pedley Park, and the new project will incorporate green space.

“One of the things we are making sure of is that there are outdoor spaces for students to hang out that are friendlier than they are right now,” Wojcik said.

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