The Center for Coastal Studies (CCS), located on UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) campus is the site of critical research on coastal erosion and rising sea levels resulting from climate change. The concrete structure that houses CCS was originally built in the 1940s as a saltwater storage tank before being converted into offices in 1962. PCL’s scope of work included renovating the lower two floors of the concrete structure and replacing the third (top) floor with new wood-framed construction. This renovation provides additional office space for researchers, students and administrative staff for the Integrative Ocean Division.

Awarded “Excellence in Sustainability” by the Associated General Contractors of America, San Diego Chapter, the CSS project placed a significant focus on environmental stewardship.

From its inception, the CCS renovation pursued LEED Silver certification. At the client’s request, this goal was changed to LEED Gold well into the construction phase. In order to meet these updated requirements, the PCL team had to pivot and earn LEED construction credits that were beyond project bid commitments. Specifically, the team opted to use only FSC-certified wood during construction. The thorough manufacturer and supplier verification process required for this credit contributed to the project achieving LEED Gold certification.

Because of its location, the CCS project required review and approval by the California Coastal Commission. The project team submitted an assessment of the structural capacity of the existing concrete and the projected lifespan of the structure. A wave run-up analysis was conducted in collaboration with CCS scientists to determine the effects of coastal erosion and rising sea levels on the site. This analysis concluded that the site would not be adversely affected by rising sea levels over the next 60 years, confirming that the building was not at risk and proving the value of reusing the structure as opposed to relocating the center elsewhere.  

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