New 1,100 space parking facility opens at Mesa College

With a mini-convoy of student leaders poised for a ceremonial drive-through, close to 100 participants gathered recently to celebrate the grand-opening of the new 1,100 space Mesa College parking structure that was first conceived of 20 years ago Since its opening on March 2, the structure has been given a “thumbs-up” from the approximately 22,000 students who attend Mesa, where finding a place to park has been a perennial problem.

“This project is much more than 1,100 parking spaces,” said Dr. Rita M. Cepeda, San Diego Mesa College President.  “It is a marvel of architecture and an amazing marriage betweenutility, and sound  environmental design. It is also an example of determination, partnership and collaboration between the San Diego Community College District, , , our campus neighbors from Kearny Mesa, Clairemont, Linda Vista, taxpayers, and the San Diego City Council….most especially Councilmember Donna Frye who said ‘yes’ to the San Diego Community College District and,  most important of all, , ’yes’ to our students.”

“I represent the thousands students who come to this college almost every day,” said Sebastian Law, President of the Associated Student Government.  “And I can tell you this means we are going to have better grades now…I can say that because teachers give quizzes the moment the class starts, and if you’re looking for a parking spot, you’re not in the classroom learning and preparing for your future,” he explained.

Holding up an oversized student parking permit with a rendering of a parking ticket on the other side, Board of Trustees President Rich Grosch tore it in half and announced to students “your hunt is over.”

“We know many of you have dashed to class only to be late, and then dashed back to your car only to find a parking ticket because you didn’t have time to continue the hunt,” he said.  “No more!”

Chancellor Constance M. Carroll, who served as president of Mesa college from 1993 to 2005,saluted the vision of former Mesa College President Alan Brookes for conceiving of the parking structure project in 1989. She credited the hard work and perseverance of all of Mesa College presidents involved since

“This is a great day of celebration for us. It’s a day of thanks and it’s a great day in the future of San Diego Mesa College.” commented Chancellor Carroll.

The Mesa College parking structure facility funded through Proposition S, a $685 million construction bond passed by San Diego voters in 2002, is key to future construction projects on the 104-acre Kearny Mesa campus. (if you make this statement, don’t you need to follow up with an explanation of why it is key? I’d leave this out unless you can do it in one sentence.  The structure is a cornerstone of the new east gateway entrance to Mesa College, which will also include road realignments and the new Allied Health Building.

The $34 million parking structure project also includes a 7,000-square-foot police substation ,  which will open this summer.  Once complete, the facility  is expected to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy Design (LEED) program with a LEED Silver – one of only a few LEED-certified public safety facilities in San Diego County.

Architects Delawie Wilkes Rodrigues Barker, a San Diego-based firm, was commissioned by the San Diego Community College District to provide full architectural services for the project.  Barnhart, Inc., a Heery International Company, served as contractor.  Gafcon, Inc. serves as program manager for Propositions S and N.


Sustainable Features:

All construction and major renovations by the San Diego Community College District are designed and built to obtain the highest possible certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.  The Mesa College Parking Structure/Police Station project is no exception, and is expected to obtain a Silver LEED upon completion – one of only a few LEED-certified public safety facilities in San Diego County.  The five-level structure  accommodates 1,100 cars, and includes spaces for alternative-fuel vehicles used by the Mesa College Police.


The parking structure project includes a number of “green” design strategies, materials, products and construction practices designed to conserve water and energy, reduce waste and preserve natural resources:

  • Photovoltaic panels installed on the top level to harvest solar energy – offsetting the energy needs for the new Police Station and Allied Health Buildings, both set to open later this year.
  • The concrete includes the addition of fly ash - a commonly-used coal combustion product – as a strengthening agent.  When fly ash is added to concrete, the amount of concrete necessary can also be reduced.
  • As an ‘open’ parking structure, there is no need for mechanical ventilation systems.
  • The landscape plan utilizes a water-efficient irrigation system and low-water use plants and shrubs.


To obtain high-resolution renderings and/or construction photographs, please contact Lina Heil, Public Information Officer, Mesa College, or Ursula Kroemer, Gafcon, Inc. at the contact information above.