McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. (, in design-build partnership with LPA, Inc., completed construction on College of San Mateo’s (CSM) new flagship building, College Center.  Marking the end of a three-year construction program, CSM held a College Center ribbon cutting ceremony in April.

Located at the geographic heart of the campus, the 140,000-square-foot College Center is the centerpiece of the revitalized campus.  It is the hub of college life and serves as a central location for student services, including Admissions, Career Services, Counseling, Transfer Services, Financial Aid, Disabled Students Programs & Services and Equal Opportunity Programs & Services.  The building also houses a learning resource center, laboratories for the Digital Media Program, large 120-plus seat classrooms, bookstore, dining rooms, a large full-scale commercial kitchen, conference rooms and faculty and administrative offices.  The College Center features outdoor terraces and stunning views of the San Francisco Bay.

The facility is part of the San Mateo County Community College District’s (SMCCCD) overall $285 million construction program at CSM funded by San Mateo County voter-approved Measure A.  The McCarthy-led $220 million design-build initiative consisted of more than 60 acres of major site improvements (various infrastructure, landscaping, hardscaping upgrades and ADA accessibility) and the construction of two facilities.  The first building, the Allied Health and Wellness Building and Aquatics Center, is an 88,000-square-foot, LEED-Gold certified facility, which was designed by Kwan Henmi and reached completion in April 2010.  The second building, College Center, has already exceeded the district’s LEED-Silver goal and is currently being reviewed to meet the high performance and sustainability standards of LEED-Gold certification.  A number of other contractors utilized the remaining $65 million to renovate eight existing buildings on the CSM campus.

“Through an innovative and successfully collaborative design-build program spanning multiple projects, College of San Mateo was able to open its doors to both buildings months ahead of their respective schedules and present our students, faculty and the greater community with two exceptional facilities,” said Rick Bennett, SMCCCD’s executive director of construction planning.

The McCarthy team applied a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to managing both jobs as a single design-build project, which ensured minimal campus impact and created a consistent and integrated connection between the two buildings.  Focused on design quality and assurance, the design-build project team instituted a “front end” process to address and resolve issues between disciplines in the preparation of construction documents.  Every team member actively participated in a systematic approach for continuous quality improvement, which included regular reviews emphasizing prevention rather than correction and close, consistent coordination with the district, SMCCCD Board of Trustees, and the design team throughout the design and documentation stages.

“At McCarthy, we embraced the challenge of constructing and managing SMCCCD’s construction program with the vigor and tenacity that have come to be our hallmarks,” said Bill Niemann, McCarthy project executive.  “The exceptional creativity and forward-thinking demonstrated by the project team, coupled with a perfect safety record despite our accelerated building schedule, all attest to McCarthy’s unwavering commitment to excellence.  The design-build initiative at CSM, while large and complex, could not have gone any smoother.”

About McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.

McCarthy Building Companies is the nation’s 10th largest domestic general contractor (Engineering News-Record, May 2010), and the second largest general contractor in California (California Construction, April 2010). With more than 145 years of experience, McCarthy is one of the nation’s oldest, privately held construction firms and one of California’s premier commercial builders.  Committed to the construction of high performance buildings, the company provides general contracting, construction management, program management and design/build services for healthcare, educational, parking structure, entertainment, retail, laboratory, biotechnical, microelectronic, and industrial facilities; office buildings; tenant interiors; mixed-use; multifamily residential and bridges and highways.  In addition to Sacramento and San Francisco, McCarthy has offices in Newport Beach and San Diego, Calif.; Phoenix; Las Vegas; Dallas; Houston; St. Louis and Atlanta.  McCarthy is 100 percent employee owned.  More information about the company is available online at