Construction has started on the $74 million Southeastern Live Well Center that will provide a wide range of social services in Southeastern San Diego.
Built at 5101 Market St. by PCL Construction with San Diego headquarters in UTC, the two-story project will be the sixth Live Well Center in the county.
Steinberg Hart with San Diego offices in Bankers Hill is the architect on the project.
Other Live Well Centers are in National City, Chula Vista, Escondido, Lemon Grove and Oceanside.
“‘The County’s new Southeastern San Diego Live Well Center will bring together in a modern, sustainable building, both a collection of services already being offered nearby in older buildings and an array of new ones, including veterans and job training,” said Barbara Jimenez, county community operations officer.
“What makes this project different from the county’s other five Live Well Centers is the depth of the community engagement,” said Jimenez, who grew up in the communities that the center will serve.
“Planning started in 2015 and the community continues to be involved in all phases, from the layout, design and amenities, to voicing their need that the building contain significant public meeting space and that they be involved in future art.” Jimenez said. “In a first of its kind, the county also has made a large commitment to community hiring and job training, both of which are already well underway.”
The 65,000 square foot building will include a 4,000 square-foot conference center with a main conference room of 2,800 square feet that can be subdivided into three separate spaces and a 400 square-foot conference room.
There also will be a 3,500 square-foot meditation garden adjacent to the southeast corner of the building alongside the Chollas Creek trail.
The Live Well Center will replace the Tubman Chavez Community Center, which was built in 1979 and razed to make room for the new building.
Construction is expected to take 18 months.
As part of its contract with the county, PCL is required to hire subcontractors from neighborhoods that surround the new center.
Lucas Mallory, San Diego regional manager of PCL, said that PCL plans to earmark at least $6 million to hire local businesses.
Additionally, Mallory said the company is committed to supporting area businesses from hardware stores to service stations by shopping locally.
“We have a budget for food truck and local service deliveries,” Mallory said.
“Anything that we can get locally, we’re doing it,” Mallory said, adding that “the project will become a vehicle to economic growth in the region with impacts beyond just this project.“
Subcontractors from the immediate area around the center that have been contracted to work on the project include Black IPO, Industrial Fire Sprinkler, Inc., and Cats Excavating, Inc.
Mallory said PCL also is working with the Black Contractors Association.
As part of the project, PCL will make a number of street improvements including construction of medians on Euclid Avenue and installation of a traffic signal on Market Street at the project’s driveway.
To connect the center to the community, the exterior walls will feature art work on screen metal panels on the side of the buildings that depict people that were influential in the neighborhood.
“The construction’s fantastic, but it’s kind of neat when you can add an element to a project that’s a little more meaningful,” Mallory said. “The murals are definitely unique.”
Three of the metal panel murals will be spread across the front of the center, two across the back and two on an adjacent parking garage.
The community also will choose the colors of the buildings, Mallory said.
Options displayed on the company website include a mix of rust and tan earth tones and shades of green. The images will be selected by the community.
“The main structure is stucco with the large photographic metal panels on the outside of the building,” Mallory said. “It’s got to be engaging, something that the community can be proud of.”
Programs offered at the center will include child welfare, public health nursing, behavioral health services, job training and vocational services, and veterans’ services.
According to the county, many of the families and children are already receiving those services but at diverse locations.
The new center will consolidate them in one site.
“I am convinced that the Southeastern Live Well Center will be the finest built to date in our county and grow every month and year into a welcoming and helpful neighbor for the entire community,” Jimenez said.
Founded: 1906 and established in San Diego 2004
San Diego Regional Manager: Lucas Mallory
U.S. Headquarters: Denver
Business: Construction Manager / General Contractor
Annual revenue: $6.3 billion
Notable: San Diego projects include San Diego International Airport Terminal 2 expansion, Balboa Theater rehabilitation and the University of California San Diego Marine Conservation Center at Scripps Institute of Oceanography.