New Construction

Saddleback College Opens New STEM Facility

Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Calif., recently opened a new STEM facility on its campus. The Advanced Technology and Applied Sciences (ATAS) building measures in at 52,913 square feet and provides multidisciplinary space for labs and classrooms, general instructional areas, and administrative space. The building will serve career technical education students in subjects like architecture and drafting, environmental sciences, communications, horticulture and more.

The college partnered on the project with construction firm McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. and architecture and design firm HED.

“We’re ecstatic to open this new facility for our students, faculty, staff and broader Orange County community,” said Ann-Marie Gabel, Vice Chancellor, Business Services, for the South Orange County Community College District. “It’s a beautiful space, designed to promote student-to-student collaboration and a sense of openness as the facility blends into the gorgeous Southern California landscape. Students can enjoy the local habitat and feel more connected to nature with onsite butterfly gardens, bird and wildlife areas.”

A news release notes that the ATAS building has achieved a LEED Gold rating equivalency with passive design strategies intended to minimize energy use. The main part of the building connects directly with campus sidewalks. Students enter through one of two entrances into a central collaboration space that opens into a courtyard. Two wings containing classrooms and lab space flank the courtyard, while landscape areas serve as outdoor learning gardens.

“The ATAS project enabled us to integrate the campus, with its highly beautiful natural surroundings, while exceeding the SOCCCD’s goals for the space,” said Martha Ball, Principal at HED. “The design considerations employed were a celebration of the natural habitat, which surrounds the Saddleback College campus. With energy efficiency in mind, the ATAS facility effectively harvests daylight to reduce the need for electrical lighting and derives 35 percent of its energy from solar panels. This, combined with an efficient wall-to-window ratio, are the main strategies to achieve energy savings. Additionally, the concrete structure provides thermal mass to absorb heat with nightly release, and longevity through a robust structure.”

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].