Visitor Center at North Station 100% Submittal


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LAR Construction presents this report for the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve (SMER) Visitor’s Center located in the mountains of Temecula, CA about 60 miles North of San Diego State University. We are working alongside the SMER team to present to interested donors a complete submittal so that they can decide on whether or not they will be donating to help this project come to life.

The project is located in the County of San Diego, next to the city of Fallbrook within the coastal draining Santa Margarita River watershed. The proposed construction area is currently located next to an existing communication facility. Based on USDA soil survey, the soil in the area mainly consists of Rockland; the bulk of the area also consists of steep hills. In the suggested area, there is dirt access road followed by open space to the north, an undeveloped open space to the south, a trail leading into another open space to the west, and the communication facility to the east.

Existing Conditions:
In the area during the time of the study the wildlife activity was very minimal, however, some species live in the area such as gopher snakes. Some other species that are known to occupy such areas are the California towhee and desert woodrat. Wildlife corridors will not be impacted in the proposed location due to the development of the area, given the limited size of the project and because there is only minimal disturbance to the adjacent environment. In addition to that, no water or wetlands will be affected by the construction and improvement of
the area. Because currently, the area of development does not include any drainage features, or wetlands, or vernal pools. While on the site walk, it was brought to our attention that there is currently a 2” pipeline that is feeding water to the current building. While that size is more than enough for the current building, once construction begins this pipeline must be upgraded to a bigger size to supply enough water to the proposed building.

The Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve and the Sky Oak Field Station are two of the four large reserves managed by the field stations program (FSP) at San Diego State University. The 4344 acre reserve along the 5 mile reach of Santa Margarita river, which is one of the longest protected coastal rivers in southern California, which was established in 1962 and is also being managed by San Diego State University. The developers main goal is to enhance the land in order to use it for research and education.

The visitor center is mainly going to be used for lectures, research and exhibits due to its breathtaking location. SDSU aims to support research and education, by collecting and sharing data from the field station and the surrounding ecosystems. Hundreds of research projects have been conducted in the property by students and faculty at SMER. The land is also used for community outreach activities.

SMER is interested in hiring LAR Construction and the Arts department in SDSU in order to help develop the construction of the Visitor Center. LAR Construction is helping the SMER team and donors envision a structure that can house visitors, researchers and students while maintaining the natural setting with stunning views that overlook the river valley. This would help increase the public access for hiking trails, education regarding the unique protected area and its diverse native plant and animal species.

LAR Construction is planning to generate important information in order to help the SMER team obtain an idea on the Visitor Center. The LAR Construction Team will utilize the following references during the development of the proposed project:
• Structural calculations to understand the necessary thickness needed for the concrete slab foundation in order to hold the Visitor Center.
• Geotechnical calculations to identify the soil bearing capacity that is allowable on the type of soil on site in order to construct a durable structure.
• A detailed construction level cost estimate to give an overview of the build out of the Visitor Center.
• A schedule demonstrating how LAR Construction plans on executing the construction of this center.
•A sustainability analysis that will help LAR Construction determine what LEED rating system will be most efficient for the client.

SDSU had requested from LAR Construction to estimate the budgeted cost and time for the construction of the visitors center. The initial proposal from SDSU for us is to receive the building design and floor plans from the arts department in SDSU. The initial set of plans were supposed to be completed March 2019. Due to different class schedule and different due dates for classes, the floor plans were delayed to April 2019.

Due to delays with plans from the arts departments LAR Construction decided to proceed with existing floor plans that were provided to us to us by Pablo Bryant, the reserve manager at SMER, we were able to find that this project can be constructed on budget and schedule. The budget and schedule do include all the ADA items such as the parking stalls, restroom stalls/showers and sidewalks that the SMER team wanted to make sure we included. The initial plan was for us to wait for building design and floor.

LAR Construction does recommend leaving proposed materials and design as is to keep construction budget and schedule on track.

It is on both LAR Construction’s interests, and the SMER team interests to move forward with this project. Our extensive research shows that this project can be successful and efficient. Moving forward with this project will be a great outcome for the SDSU and SMER.

Read the final student report delivered to the local gov/community partner.

The Sage Project Contact Info
Kristofer Patron
Program Administrator
(619) 594-0103

University Faculty Contact
John Prince
Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

Local Government / Community Contact

Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve

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