Los Medanos College Student Services Complex Renovation

Client: Contra Costa Community College District
Services Provided: Programming, Design, Construction Documents, Construction Administation
Project Location: Pittsburg, CA
Project Size: 38,110 sf
Construction Cost: $17,001,505
Completion Date: February 2015
Program: Information Center, Admissions & Records, DSPS, Financial Aid, Counseling Department, EOPS/CARE/CalWORKS, Assessment, Success Center, Office of the President, Senior Dean’s Office, General Support Areas, New Central Quad

Award: 2016 AWARD OF MERIT Community College Facility Coalition (CCFC)


The new Student Services Complex Renovation creates a welcoming gateway for students and the community to facilitate the beginning of their college journey and a new gateway to the older campus megastructure building’s instructional space. The renovation reinforces the newly completed central quad by creating a strong edge, now providing a backdrop to central quad activities and the existing “Spanish steps”. The array of Student Services are strategically located around the hub for easy access. The space is bathed in natural light filtering through the ubiquitous concrete waffle slab, creating an engaging atmosphere. Students have expressed that they feel that they are the important focus of the college.

The original concept expressed by College President Peter Garcia was “to open up Los Medanos College to the Community and form a welcoming sense of place” in order to support student success. His vision was translated into a master plan and the subsequent construction of a re-envisioned Los Medanos College campus in which the original, single mega-structure building was transformed into a campus by constructing selectively-located additional buildings. The overall design marries the original concrete megastructure aesthetic with the humanistic scaled new buildings. This creates an overall sense of “place”. The approach of the Student Services Center renovation goal was to transform the portion of the megastructure that fronted the new central quad into a campus front door where new students see a convenient flow of related Student Services that are laid out to serve them.

The challenge was to design an engaging space in which students could easily discover and be drawn to all the campus services without altering the existing structure. We created a bright, active space by calculatedly puncturing the ubiquitous roof waffle slab and the second floor plate with openings to bring natural light into all levels of the building while minimally affecting the structure. Now, students visit the welcome center in a new central atrium that is enlivened by skylights. From there, they can easily progress to the college services that they need. Colors and materials were chosen to promote a confident, sophisticated collegiate environment.

High Performance: Sustainable strategies were incorporated from the beginning of design: Building and window orientation, low embodied energy or recycled materials, the use of controlled natural lighting, VAV HVAC Systems with energy management controls, insulated glass and sun shading devices throughout, Photovoltaic Panels built over adjacent parking.