Campus News


Soka Performing Arts Center receives LEED Gold Certification


Center roof and classroom roofSoka University has been notified that its new 1,000-seat Soka Performing Arts Center (to the right in the photo) and adjacent academic building (on the left) have received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification.   These two “green buildings” opened in September 2011 and were constructed to meet energy-efficient and eco-friendly standards.

“Soka University is proud to accept this LEED Gold Certification,” noted SUA President Dr. Daniel Habuki.  “One of our university principles is to ‘Foster leaders for the creative coexistence of nature and humanity.’ -- so we asked our architects and contractor to do their best to make these buildings as environmentally sensitive as possible.”

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc served as general contractor for the $73 million project which began in December 2008. The project included construction of the three-level, 47,836-square-foot Soka Performing Arts Center housing a reception lobby, support spaces and a 1,000 seat auditorium as well as a 48,974-square-foot academic building. The new four-level academic building houses 11 classrooms, 29 faculty offices, a 150-seat black box theater, four dressing rooms, a rehearsal/dance studio, musician warm-up spaces and other support areas.

“The Soka University project team was focused on sustainability from day one and worked hard to make this goal a reality,” explained McCarthy Executive Vice President Mark Mardock.  “We are proud to have been involved in producing this high performance facility that will sustain our environment and serve the Orange County community for years to come.”

Designed by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLP of Los Angeles, the new buildings were built with a combination of structural concrete and structural steel frame. The buildings’ exteriors feature smooth plaster walls, travertine stone bands, aluminum curtain walls, clear glass glazing and clay tile and green roofs that provide insulation and help absorb rain water.

The project’s design and construction team pursued United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Certification for the buildings. In order to achieve the Gold LEED rating, McCarthy used sustainable construction methods throughout the project, including minimizing unrecyclable construction waste, maintaining proper indoor air quality and ensuring that the subcontractors install the specified green materials. The design of these two buildings incorporates numerous sustainable and energy efficiency solutions. The academic building features operable windows, displacement ventilation and a green roof. The Soka Performing Arts Center’s green roof and sunshade structure surrounding the lobby use photovoltaic (solar) panels, and a bioswale helps manage storm water runoff. McCarthy used building materials made from recycled content that were locally extracted, processed and regionally manufactured. Additionally, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood and low emitting adhesives, sealants, paints, carpets and composite wood products were incorporated in both structures.