Today, we announced the opening of the Modesto Junior College Student Services Building, a new East Campus landmark. The building is designed to be both a campus front door and a student common space. Though LEED certification was not an initial goal for this project, we incorporated sustainable strategies into the design as a matter of course. The facility is now expected to receive LEED Silver certification and become the first building on the Modesto Junior College East Campus to hold this title.
Located on the main pedestrian pathway near the heart of campus, the $6.5-million building consolidates existing student services that were spread throughout the campus. Programs such as campus admissions, records, counseling, evaluations, classrooms and additional student support are now located in a "one-stop shop."
"One of our core missions at Perkins+Will is to promote sustainable design," said Bob Lavey, Managing Principal, Perkins+Will. "But we must always keep in mind how important project costs are to our clients. We were very pleased to be able to create a LEED-certifiable building that kept expenses so close to our original budget."
Designed during the days of the peak economy, one of the project's challenges was providing enough program area for consolidation, growth and informal interactions within a tight budget. The building's arms wrap around a central "bullpen" area, part of which is enclosed as a lobby within the 19,650 square foot building envelope while the other part is composed of an exterior courtyard. This courtyard is shielded from the hot Modesto sun by a canopy of custom perforated aluminum panels. The canopy's pattern was abstracted from the leaves of the surrounding trees and produces a dappled light effect that integrates the project into the site and shades the entry curtain wall. By capturing the additional usable area of the courtyard, the building's total area encompasses 26,000 square feet.
We strategically incorporated sustainable design strategies focusing on energy, water savings and material selection into the design from the beginning. We worked closely with the Yosemite Community College District and user group to familiarize them with the benefits and costs of achieving LEED certification. We also took the unique approach of bidding the LEED certification as an alternate. When the alternate cost came in at about only one half of one percent of overall construction costs, the dstrict decided to pursue LEED certification. Since the project had already been designed to sustainable standards, it is expected to achieve LEED Silver certification, even though the decision to pursue official certification was made at the end of the design process. According to data provided by the U.S. Green Building Council, developers of the LEED rating system, if LEED Silver is granted, it will make the Student Services Building only the third officially LEED-certified building in Modesto.