San Diego

Builder Completes $15.9M Fine Arts Center

The first floor of the new arts center has about 4,000 square feet of fine arts gallery space with wood and metal shops, plus a student art studio on the second floor and more bells and whistles

A 1970’s-era Mesa College building that was once used for science classes and administrative offices has been transformed into fine arts center in a $15.9 million project completed by C.W. Driver Cos.

The four-story concrete building on the Kearny Mesa campus at 7250 Mesa College Drive was stripped clean so only a shell was left.

Because the building was so old and built into a hillside, the transformation was especially challenging, said Brandon Silveira, C.W. Drivers project manager.

“We gutted the building down to a bare structure,” Silveira said. “We took the structural concrete shell and built it out with new interior spaces. Design-wise, it’s a really open floor plan.”

The renovated building is LEED silver certified with new windows to let in natural light and low-energy tract lighting in the galleries.

“A lot of getting LEED silver was just the design itself and using natural light, using up-to-date, efficient fixtures,” Silveira said.

The first floor of the new arts center has about 4,000 square feet of fine arts gallery space with wood and metal shops and a student art studio on the second floor, multiple drawing studios and classrooms on the third floor, and a ceramic studio on the fourth floor with electric and gas kilns, Silveira said.

In addition to the building itself, the project included a new exterior sidewalk and walkway, curb and gutter improvements and new street access on the north and south sides.

“It has been such a joy seeing this building come to life for our more than 1,500 fine arts students already taking classes in the building,” said Mesa College President Pamela Luster. “The fine arts building beautifully showcases our program and the incredible art that is being created every day by our students.”

Because it involved a wide range of art disciplines, teachers and others who use the building helped with its design.

“Everybody was very collaborative from the get-go, really trying to make the most of the project,” Silveira said.

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