New Skills Center Completed as Campus of Excellence for Career and Technical Education

Ribbon CuttingNearly 300 students, community members and special guests lined up along repair bays, auto lifts and flanks of new and refurbished cars to help mark the November 5th formal grand opening of the San Diego Community College District’s newest teaching and learning facility, the Educational Cultural Complex (ECC) Skills Center, serving as the District’s Campus of Excellence for Career and Technical Education. It is the largest automotive technology skills center of its kind in the nation.

The 67,010 square foot addition includes new repair bays, drive-in spray paint booths, shops, labs, classrooms, demonstration theatres and other teaching and learning spaces. The Skills Center supports instructional and career training programs in Automotive Technology, Automotive Mechanical and Electrical Repair, Automotive Body Repair, Automotive Upholstery, Graphic Printing Technology, Computer Graphic Arts, Cisco Lab, Business Information Technology and Welding.

“When I look at this building, I see more than classrooms and workstations, computers and tools. This building represents hope for the future, not only for the students, but for this community’s economy as well,” said Rich Grosch, President of the Board of Trustees, SDCCD. “This building is the means to create and fill jobs that this community, this state, this nation so desperately need.” The SDCCD chancellor, Dr. Constance Carroll, reflected on "bold efforts" by the community college leadership to provide economic development in the southeast sector of San Diego.

"Beginning with the construction of the Educational Cultural Complex in the 1970s, our community college priority has been to provide training for jobs, as well as programs designed to help new residents learn English and also take some credit classes. Our effort continued with offering Associate Degree programs on site and has now taken the next significant step with the opening of the new Skills Center, which is entirely aimed at employment training," she said.

Carroll also credited the contributions of many community partners to this effort, including the Southeastern Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), the Coalition of Neighborhood Councils, the Urban League, the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA, and others. "What we have in this kind of collaboration is a win-win situation for all."

The project was also credited for being an investment in the community’s quality of life. “I think we can all agree the Skills Center will help people realize their potential,” said Michael Brunker, Executive Director of the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA. “The project helps San Diego to serve its most underserved community.”

“Continuing Education is making history. Our students will benefit from the free job training the programs offer, and our local businesses will also prosper from having a knowledgeable candidate pool to pull from when they need well-trained employees,” said Dr. Anthony Beebe, President, San Diego Continuing Education. “This is a great day for our community.”

The Skills Center is funded by the District’s $1.555 billion Propositions S and N construction bond program, which is providing for new teaching and learning facilities, major renovations, and campuswide infrastructure projects at City, Mesa, and Miramar Colleges, and six Continuing Education campuses throughout San Diego. All construction and major renovations included in the bond program are designed and built to obtain the highest possible Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Skills Center is expected to be certified, at minimum, LEED Silver. Sustainable features include:

  • A photovoltaic panel array (360 panels at 185 watts each) on the complex carports, generating a total of 66.6 kW. A web-based computer monitoring system allows users and visitors to see exactly how much solar energy is generated at any given time.
  • The orientation of the complex was designed to maximize both daylight and views to the outside. Daylight will be available to 90% of the space, which increases user comfort and reduces the need for artificial lighting. Views to the outdoors will be available for 95% of the spaces, improving user comfort and productivity in the learning environment.
  • High efficiency plumbing fixtures reduce water consumption by over 40% as compared to a standard building. High efficiency fixtures reduce the amount of electricity used.
  • Indoor air quality is optimized through the use of natural ventilation, carbon dioxide monitors, low chemical-emitting materials and finishes, and walk-off mats to control dirt from entering the building.
  • Trees and shrubs have been selected for their compatibility to the area, to provide shade and to minimize the need for water. A high efficiency irrigation system utilizes a controller that adjusts itself to the local weather.
  • A sustainable education program will be implemented so that building itself can be used as a teaching tool on the benefits of sustainable design.
  • Exterior lighting is carefully placed to minimize light pollution to nearby residences.

The Skills Center project team included:

  • Architect: NTD Architecture
  • Construction Manager: O’Connor Construction Management
  • General Contractor: Jaynes Corp.
  • Landscape Architect: Nowell & Associates
  • Proposition S and N Program Manager: Gafcon, Inc.
  • Campus Project Management: Scott Ellis, Julia Parker, URS Corp.