Southwestern College Breaks Ground on $22.5M National City Expansion

Two-story building will expand course sections and programs, use state-of-the-art construction technology

SWC Leadership shovels dirt durign the HEC NC Groundbreaking Ceremony.
From left to right: Vice President of Academic Affairs Kathy Tyner, Interim Superintendent/President Robert Deegan, Governing Board Member Norma Hernandez, Governing Board President Nora E. Vargas, Student Trustee Freda Hernandez, Dean of the Higher Education Center at National City Christine Perri.

NATIONAL CITY, California ­– Southwestern College, SUNDT Construction and Johnson Favaro Architects broke ground August 31 on a new two-story expansion at the Higher Education Center in National City. The event brought together administrators, South Bay officials, faculty and students to celebrate the construction of a new building that will meet the space and academic needs of a growing student population.

“Today’s groundbreaking is a reaffirmation of our commitment to bringing the complete college experience to the District’s neighboring communities, which includes building quality learning environments for our students,” said Robert Deegan, Interim President/Superintendent. “We look forward to these new facilities furthering our commitment of providing educational resources for the community’s next generation of professionals.”

The $22.5 million expansion is funded by Proposition R, the college’s $389 million general obligation bond approved by voters in 2008. It expected to be completed by early 2018.

This new south-side expansion, located near the intersection of National City and Plaza boulevards, will expand course sections and programs for the more than 3,400 students who enroll in the center annually. The expansion will feature new modern classrooms, biology and chemistry laboratory spaces and a teaching clinic. It will have a 90-person community room and be home to the Center for Business Advancement. It will also feature new laboratory spaces for the center’s popular dental hygiene, medical office and medical lab technology programs

“Today, as we slip the shovels into the soil, we celebrate not just the construction of a building, but the teaching and learning that will occur here, and those dedicated to serving our students,” said Christine Perri, dean of the Higher Education Center in National City. “The building that will be erected may just be bricks and mortar but the impact of the work performed in this building will transcend its walls—touching the lives of thousands of students throughout the South Bay.”

The new building is designed with a state-of-the-art process that uses steel that is pre-fabricated by ConXtech at its Hayward headquarters. The two-story structural chassis’ bolt system is built all at once then shipped over to the construction site where it is bolted together on site. This process eliminates the need for welding on site and will cut installation time by up to 70 percent

The decorative tiles that will be placed on the exterior of the building also use a new technology. The lighter tiles, which look like marble, will leave gaps between the windows and tiles to allow natural light to enter each room, but also protects classrooms from overexposure to sunlight. They will be decorated with the Mayan glyphs, keeping with themes found at the Higher Education Center in National City and the main Chula Vista campus.

Through Proposition R, the center is also undergoing major renovations to continue to offer support for small business owners through the San Diego Contracting Opportunities Center, Small Business Development Center and the Center for International Trade Development. The modernized spaces for the Business Development area will be ready November, 2016.

“We help fuel economic growth by training hundreds of business entrepreneurs—and those services will only be expanded through consolidating all of our small business resources in one location—here in National City,” said Governing Board President Nora E. Vargas.