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Southwestern College Info Tech Building

Summarize the project's program, features, and achievements: The Information Technology Building (ITB) is on the east side of Southwestern College in Chula Vista, CA. The project is 16,400 square feet and includes offices, a classroom, data center, network spaces, and a help desk. Following the campus’ rich tradition of exposed concrete, the most striking architectural feature of the ITB are 20 ft tall tilt-up walls along the north and east facades. The “unique” exterior finishes consist of varying panel thickness laid out on the walls in a random pattern of both size and finish.

What obstacles were overcome related to the schedule, budget, program, specification, site, etc. on this project? During the preconstruction process most job issues related to schedule, specifications, and budget were addressed. Site logistics was the only unknown as the exact grade of the area surrounding the building was an ever-evolving issue for the duration of our work. Remedial grading within the job site was addressed a few days prior to the lifting of the panels to ensure we could safely hoist the panels into place. Even with the remedial grading, one panel could not be picked due to a calculation error by the crane company. Approval to walk the crane onto the slab had to be obtained to lift the last panel with load cribbing and steel plates being used for weight distribution measures.

Please communicate any engineering complexities or unique features of the panel design for this project. ? Typical panel “sections” on the walls are 2 ft. wide by 4 ft. 9 in. tall with reveals separating each adjacent section from the other with thicknesses ranging from 8 in. to 11 in. Each section would eventually receive either a smooth, light sandblast or heavy sandblast texture as the final finish application. To begin, sections with a smooth finish were covered while the first round of sandblasting was applied. Then the sections receiving the lighter finish were covered while the rest of the sections received a second round of sandblasting to create a heavier finish appearance. To accentuate the different thicknesses within each panel, reveals up to 3 in. tall (deep) separated each individual section. To ensure perfect reveal joints, all cuts at joints and intersections of reveals were mitered to an exact fit. Quality control was a top priority on this project to deliver the client’s desired outcome. Craftsmen took extra care not to leave hammer marks on the plywood and to avoid uneven plywood seams. Place and finish teams also took extra care to ensure all panels were clear of debris before and during concrete placement. Table saws were used to back-cut a 22-degree angle on the HDO plywood form at each joint to ensure a tight seal and quality product after stripping.

What is the potential for this project's impact on the community and/or environment? Along with the critical information technology services which will be housed in this building, the tilt-up walls raise the bar for future concrete work on a campus already teaming with architectural concrete. This unique finish pushes the boundaries of what is architecturally possible with concrete and the look couldn’t have been accomplished quickly and economically without the use of tilt-up concrete construction.

Main banner image for Southwestern College Info Tech Building

Project Location

Chula Vista, CA 91910
United States


The Tilt-Up Achievement Awards were established to honor projects that use site-cast tilt-up concrete to introduce new building types, advance industry technology and provide unique solutions to building programs. Winning entries illustrate the variety, beauty, and flexibility of tilt-up construction.



The excellence designation is given to the highest scoring projects each year representing the top 10-12 projects. Learn more >

Project Images


Project Team (TCA Members)

General Contractor:
Concrete Contractor:
Miyamoto International, Inc.

Project Specifics

Project Category:
Higher Education
Building Types:
College & University
Concrete (Exposed Aggregate)
Concrete (Raw/Sealed)
Shadow Panels
Number of Floors:
Tilt-Up Wall Area:
8,195 sq ft (761 sq m)
Total Floor Area:
16,480 sq ft (1,531 sq m)
Project Footprint:
16,480 sq ft (1,531 sq m)
Tallest Panel:
23 ft 4 in (7.11 m)
Widest Panel:
36 ft 4 in (11.07 m)
Largest Panel:
736 sq ft (68.4 sq m)
Heaviest Panel:
120,319 lbs (54,576 kg)