Southwestern College Breaks Ground on $81M Math, Science & Engineering Building

Two-story building will include state-of-the-art labs, greenhouse, telescope platform.

MSE Building groundbreaking Ceremony
From left to right: Governing Board Member Norma Hernandez; Governing Board Vice President Tim Nader; Interim Superintendent/President Robert Deegan; Dean of the School of Mathematics, Science & Engineering Michael Odu; former dean of the School of Mathematics, Science & Engineering Janet Mazzarella; Vice President of Academic Affairs Kathy Tyner; and Associated Student Organization Representative for the School of Math, Science and Engineering Rudy Villegas.

CHULA VISTA, California ­– Southwestern College broke ground on a new two-story, 100,000-square-foot Math, Science & Engineering Building on the Chula Vista campus Wednesday. The groundbreaking brought together the campus community, college leadership, South Bay officials, faculty, staff and students to celebrate one of the most energy-efficient buildings constructed to date at the College District.

“This new building will create tremendous opportunities for the South Bay community,” said Robert Deegan, interim superintendent/president. “Guided by the dedicated staff and faculty of the Math, Science and Engineering department, the students who will walk these halls will create amazing things.”

This new state-of-the-art building, located on the site of the former 1000 building and gymnasium, will expand STEM-related course sections and programs and be home to Southwestern College’s most popular majors, including biology, chemistry, physics, geology and mathematics. In addition to 15 new labs and classrooms, it will feature faculty and staff office spaces, a biology greenhouse and a rooftop telescope platform.

“This is my commitment to this community,” said Michael Odu, dean of the School of Math, Science & Engineering. “Our students will compete with the UCs and the CSUs. They are going to re-engineer the future!”

The new building, which was designed by Marlene Imirzian & Associates Architects and being constructed by Rudolph and Sletten, is designed for certification as a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Silver project by the U. S. Green Building Council. To be one of Southwestern College’s greenest buildings, its suitability features include drought-tolerant landscaping and the collection of dew and condensate to use for irrigation.

The $81 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 in fall 2018.

“This building is one of Proposition R’s most exciting projects and is part of a new era for Southwestern College,” said Governing Board President Nora E. Vargas. “As STEM careers only grow in demand, it is our responsibility to meet those demands and to do it here in South Bay. It is our responsibility to have facilities and resources that can unlock our students’ full potential and give them a clear path to their dreams.”