C.W. Driver Companies, a premier builder serving California since 1919, today announced the groundbreaking of the new $23 million student union at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa. The company will leverage its extensive experience constructing higher education facilities to build the 35,000-square-foot building, which will serve the immediate needs of the university’s current enrollment and provide additional space to accommodate future growth.

The new state-of-the-art steel-framed structure will replace the existing student union and feature a 16,000-square-foot cafeteria, 3,000-square-foot fitness center and 8,200-square-foot multi-purpose events space. It also will include a student lounge with ample seating, a fireplace and café. The building’s roof will feature a trellised deck and fireplace, and other outdoor dining and gathering areas will be constructed around the perimeter of the building to promote student, faculty and staff interaction. Completion is anticipated for Q4 2019.

“We are very pleased to help Vanguard University modernize its campus with a student center that will provide a welcoming environment and comprehensive amenities for its students and staff,” said Tom Jones, project executive at C.W. Driver Companies. “Our team specializes in delivering best-in-class facilities to academic institutions, and we are proud to bring our experience and quality of work to a school as respected as Vanguard.”

The construction of the student union marks the commencement of a longer-term campus enhancement plan that includes 12 separate projects involving the removal and/or reconstruction of existing buildings on the 38-acre campus. Vanguard is currently working to obtain approvals on its new master plan that will allow it to accommodate a more than a 25 percent increase in student enrollment.

“Vanguard offers students a top-quality education with a rich Christian foundation,” said Michael J. Beals, Ph.D., president of Vanguard University. “While our facilities on this campus have served us well throughout the last 68 years, we are ready to enhance the on-campus experience for future generations with new buildings and amenities.”

Designed by HPI Architecture, the new building will reflect a traditional Santa Barbara style that complements the existing architecture on campus, incorporating a smooth plaster finish, limestone veneer and clay tile roof.

Established in 1920, Vanguard University is a private Christian university of liberal arts and professional studies. It has been ranked in the top 10 among the best baccalaureate colleges in the west by U.S. News & World Report since 2010 and was named a 2014 “Best in the West” College by The Princeton Review. It is located at 55 Fair Drive, where the school has resided since it relocated from Pasadena in 1950.

The Vanguard University student union bolsters C.W. Driver Companies’ robust higher education portfolio, which includes California Polytechnic State University, Pomona’s Student Services Building, Chapman University’s Center for Science and TechnologyUniversity of California, Santa Barbara’s Davidson Library Addition and Renewal and San Francisco State University’s Student Recreation and Wellness Center.


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