With approximately 3,700 graduate students enrolled in 80 academic disciplines, the University of California, San Diego, offers something for nearly everyone pursuing post-graduate study. But until recently, there was one thing UCSD couldn’t offer graduate students – a dedicated East Campus housing facility. In the spring of 2007, graduate students found accommodations in the new Graduate Student Housing Project on the East Campus. The 806-bed student housing project consists of four four-story buildings and a residential services building. Concrete plays a primary role in the project’s cast-in place, six-level parking structure that provides parking for 685 cars. Additional surface parking accommodates another 120 cars.

edu_UCSD_parking_1Serviced by two stairwells and an elevator, the parking structure measures 120-feet wide by 270-feet long and creates approximately 189,000 square feet. Construction costs for the parking deck’s concrete total $5.1 million, while the total construction costs for the parking structure, with all other systems combined, are upwards of $10 million. Because UCSD is situated along the California coast and the California Coastal Commission governs construction, the first level of the post-tensioned parking deck is partially below grade to meet local building-height requirements.

edu_UCSD_parking_2As the design-build contractor, Sundt Construction Inc.’s concrete division selected the pre-designed Cunningham System for the parking structure construction. The Cunningham System is a proprietary system that features post-tensioned, long span beams and post-tensioned decks. Sundt self-performed the project’s concrete work, has extensive experience using the modular forms of the Cunningham System. With no on-the-job learning curve using the Cunningham System, Sundt’s workers constructed the parking deck. Overall construction schedule time frame for the structure was enhanced because the system allows for re-use of the formwork from level to level.

For this project, concrete helped UCSD achieve some sustainability goals. Elements of design and construction parallel that of the LEED Building Rating System, and concrete as a material allowed the contractor to use local materials, as a specified percentage of the project’s materials costs were required to be from an area within a 500-mile radius. Great care was taken with the recycling of construction materials on the project to achieve the university’s Environmentally Responsible Actions. This includes carefully coordinating activities and construction boundaries with an on-site biologist to ensure the surrounding environment was minimally affected during the construction phases.


The Regents of University of California, San Diego

Design-Build Contractor:
Sundt Construction Inc., San Diego, California

Design Architect:
Studio E Architects, San Diego, California

Architect of Record:
MVE Institutional Inc., Santa Ana, California

Structural Engineer:
Hope-Amundson Engineering, San Diego, California

Civil Engineer:
Hirsch & Company, San Diego, California

Concrete Supplier:
Vulcan Materials Company, Birmingham, Alabama