The County of San Diego Board of Supervisors recently broke ground on the new County Operations Center, a campus of public buildings designed to be kind to the environment, accessible to the public and more functional for the wide array of services the County provides.
The estimated $500 million project will rise in three distinct phases in the footprint of the current operations center, an outdated cluster of inefficient buildings located in Kearny Mesa. The $188.5 million first phase includes two 15,000-square-foot office buildings, a 1,700-space parking garage and utilities plant.
The project is “one of the largest infrastructure projects in the history of County government,” said Chairwoman Dianne Jacob. “The first phase is taking place without the help of the federal stimulus package and is greatly needed to meet the changing demands of our dynamic region.”
Watch video of groundbreaking (wmv)
With plans for energy-efficient roofing and windows, drought tolerant landscaping and work stations that take advantage of abundant natural light, the County hopes the project will achieve a LEED rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.
“Government should lead by example,” said Vice Chairwoman Pam Slater-Price. “Using sustainable building practices, we aim to show protecting the planet and protecting public dollars go hand-in-hand.”
The County began to explore the feasibility of its new campus in 2005. A study determined that maintenance costs for the existing complex would top $216 million over the next 20 years.
“By rebuilding instead of retrofitting, the County will achieve cost savings in the long run,” said Supervisor Bill Horn. “We’re doing away with expensive leased space and consolidating services now scattered in separate locations.”
The project’s master developer is Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group-West, Inc. Other partners include ROEL Construction, RJC Architects and Project Management Advisors, Inc.
“Our development team has taken great pains to ensure that the design is more accessible and welcoming to the public,” said Supervisor Ron Roberts, a former architect. “The public will find that the new campus is as functional as it is beautiful.”
The first phase of construction is expected to be completed in fall 2010 with employee move-in scheduled for winter 2010.
“The three-phase construction schedule should be minimally disruptive to all,” said Supervisor Greg Cox. “We want to thank our valued employees in advance for their patience and can-do County attitude as we prepare for the future.”
County Operations Center Development Site
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