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McCarthy completes Soka performing arts center

The $73 million project’s design and construction team will seek LEED Gold Certification.

BY CAITLIN ADAMSPublished: December 20, 2010 07:37 AM

Newport Beach-based McCarthy Building Cos. has completed construction on a $73 million performing arts center and academic building project on the Soka University campus in Aliso Viejo.

The new three-level, 47,836-square-foot performing arts center, which incorporates a reception lobby and a 1,200-seat auditorium, is set to become a main venue in South Orange County for concerts, theater productions, lectures and assemblies, enhancing Soka University’s role as a cultural center and community gathering place.

In addition to the performing arts center, a 48,974-square-foot academic building has been completed as part of the project, which is located on 1.9 acres at the western side of the campus. The new four-level building houses 11 classrooms, 29 faculty offices, a 150-seat black box theater, four dressing rooms, a rehearsal/dance studio and other support areas.

Due to the project site’s sloping terrain, both new structures presented unique design and construction challenges, according to Nate Ray, McCarthy’s project manager.

“The Performing Arts Center structure itself was a challenge,” Ray said. “McCarthy performed all of the structural concrete work for the project, and the team did an excellent job during the formwork, planning and review process to ensure a successful completion on a very challenging structure.”

McCarthy served as general contractor for the duration of the project, which began in December 2008. The design and construction team are now pursuing Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design – or LEED – Gold Certification for the buildings from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

To ensure that LEED guidelines were followed, McCarthy employed 15 LEED-accredited professionals to assist in the design and construction of the project, in addition to recycling 75 percent of construction waste and maintaining proper indoor air quality, as well as utilizing local labor and insuring that subcontractors installed the specified green materials – procedures that are required by the certification board.

The design and construction of the buildings likewise incorporates many sustainable and energy-efficient amenities, such as operable windows and displacement ventilation and a “green roof” with sunshade structure that uses photovoltaic cells and a bioswale that manages storm water runoff.

 “Meeting the project’s LEED Gold Certification goals required rigorous tracking and monitoring as well as developing innovations to some of the project’s challenges,” said Ray. “For example, the installation of the reclaimed irrigation water on the green roof proved challenging. Our solution included routing the reclaimed water lines up the exterior of the building in concealed faux downspouts, and working closely with the authorities having jurisdiction to approve this solution.”

Arch Asawa, Soka University’s CFO, said the university is very impressed with McCarthy’s management team and their attention to detail.

“Soka University will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2011, and the opening of the performing arts center and the adjacent academic building will be a big part of that celebration,” Asawa said.

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