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San Diego Community College District yesterday celebrated the completion of a new 828-space parking garage and 5,108 square foot police substation at its Miramar College campus. Constructed by the McCarthy company, which bills itself as “one of the nation’s leading education and parking builders,” the project cost $17.9 million, part of the district’s $1.555 billion improvement budget resulting from Propositions S and N.

The portion of the structure used for police aims to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. It would make Miramar the first higher education facility in the county to receive such status.

Numerous features were employed to obtain Platinum status, the Green Building Council’s highest rating. A rooftop garden decreases and filters rainwater runoff, easing the burden on city drainage and filtration systems. Roof and wall materials, along with a green screen on the top level of the parking garage, reduce the “heat island” effect of the structure.

A tower element incorporated in the substation design serves as a “solar chimney,” creating natural ventilation – the top of the tower heats up, providing ventilation. Exposed concrete on the walls and ceiling of the building will absorb heat during the day and dissipate it at night, reducing cooling and heating costs.

An interactive display in the station’s reception area boasts of these and other techniques and materials used in the design, and provides information on sustainability goals at the college.

The district says that 5,500 prevailing wage jobs have been created to date since the passage of the two propositions funding this and similar projects, with $110 million in new project awards and at least 1,200 jobs created in 2010.

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