McCarthy Begins Drywall Installation for $20 Million Allied Health Building @ San Diego Mesa College

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. (, one of the nation’s leading healthcare and education facility builders, has achieved the two-thirds completion benchmark for the new three-story, 49,000-square-foot Allied Health Building at San Diego Mesa College, located at 7250 Mesa College Dr. in the Clairemont area of San Diego, Calif.

            According to McCarthy Project Director Robert Betz, work to fully enclose the building is underway. The in-wall and overhead rough-in is nearly complete on all levels, and the project team is preparing to enter the interior drywall installation stage.

             "This step will require a substantial amount of material, including 20,000 square feet of drywall to cover 160,000 linear feet of metal stud framing material," said Betz.  "The project has experienced an especially low change order rate of less than one percent, and remains on schedule and within budget."

            The new $20 million San Diego Mesa College Allied Health Building is being funded by the Proposition S Construction Bond, which was approved by San Diego voters in 2002. Construction began last September, and is slated for completion this August. The road realignment, considered phase three of the project, is scheduled for completion in November.

            Situated off Mesa College Drive at the main campus entry, the Allied Health facility will serve as a prominent landmark for San Diego Mesa College. It is the second instructional building to be built at Mesa College utilizing Proposition S funds. The building will house a computer lab, classrooms, a clinical dental lab, physical therapy lab, medical lab, plus faculty and staff offices.  

            Designed by San Diego-based Architects | Delawie Wilkes Rodrigues Barker, the Allied Health Building incorporates a three-story layout to accommodate all of the uses required by the faculty, staff and students on the compact site. To reduce the vertical emphasis of the building, the exterior design incorporates multiple horizontal design elements, such as a continuous ribbon window curtain wall system with integral horizontal window eyebrows. The curtain wall plays a significant role in shading the glass and reducing the amount of internal solar gain inside the building.


            Another important design element is the stone cladding on the more powerful vertical elements such as stairs and entry areas. This will be the first building on the campus to use stone elements on the exterior.

            An important objective for all construction projects undertaken by the San Diego Community College District is to meet the highest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification possible.  The Allied Health Building is designed to achieve LEED Silver certification status.

            Among the sustainable design elements of the building are low-water use landscape, recycled materials content, high-efficiency energy systems, Energy-Star roof systems, and construction water recycling.  The Allied Health Building's power requirements will be offset in part by energy provided by solar panels located on the roof of the adjacent parking structure.

Phase three of the project, involving the extensive realignment of an existing roadway, posed the challenge of deciphering how to perform the majority of the work without interrupting the access/egress requirements of the campus. The McCarthy project team worked with the District to save several months on the District’s original schedule and sequencing plan. Collectively they came up with a shorter phasing plan that will significantly reduce the campus disruption and ultimately save the District a considerable amount of money.  

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is the construction manager for the Allied Health Building construction project, with Ron Hall as principal-in-charge, Robert Betz serving as project director, Ross Malik as senior project manager, and Randal Gustine as the superintendent.  Gil Camarena is assistant project manager, with Austin Kettlewell as project engineer and Lauren Jacoby as project secretary.

            Project team consultants include Hope Engineering for structural engineering, RBF Consulting for civil engineering and Xnth for mechanical and electrical engineering. Wimmer Yamada & Caughey is the landscape architect, and Churchill Engineering, Inc., is the code consultant. Gafcon is the program manager for the school district.

            McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is the nation’s 10th largest domestic general contractor (Engineering News-Record, May 2008) and among the top 10 education builders (Engineering News-Record, October 2006). The firm has been building in the education market for the last 50 years. Committed to the construction of high performance buildings, the company has managed construction or built more than 300 K-12 school projects nationwide, totaling more than $2 billion in construction value, and nearly 100 higher education projects on more than 50 campuses. In addition to San Diego, McCarthy has offices in Newport Beach, Sacramento and San Francisco, Calif.; Phoenix; Las Vegas; St. Louis; Dallas and Atlanta.  McCarthy is 100 percent employee owned.  More information about the company is available online at



Among the largest community colleges in California and the nation, San Diego Mesa College is a fully accredited two-year college offering 160 Associate degree and certificate programs. Recognized in 2007 as one of the top 100 producers of associate degrees in the nation, Mesa College ranks as San Diego’s top transfer institution. The college also serves as an important economic catalyst for the region. Its career programs and industry alliances offer graduates almost immediate job placement in the fields of allied health, biopharmaceutical, biotechnology, business technology, consumer studies, and more. Other top specialized career programs include fashion, architecture, multimedia, animal health technology, American Sign Language, interior design, and hospitality and event management. More information is available online at

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