Soka University

Aliso Viejo, California

Michael Baker provided civil engineering services, including land use planning and preparation and processing of the area plan, site planning and vesting tentative map for entitlement processing with the county, for the development of the 100-acre Soka University. The university is an internationally recognized, private, non-profit liberal arts college and graduate school.

Our team also was retained as campus civil engineer for the design of grading and improvement plans for all university infrastructure. The unique grading design was based on an Italian hillside terrace theme that required the construction of buildings on a five-to-one slope. All parking lots were located on the campus perimeter and graded below adjacent street levels to provide a view from the campus that highlights the surrounding open space rather than the parking lots. A 24-foot retaining wall was designed as part of the campus perimeter with a special mat foundation design to serve as the footing for the wall, while supporting a cooling tower, an essential component of the campus’ chilled water systems.

In addition, we provided site civil engineering services for the university’s $73 million, 48,000-square-foot performing arts center, which includes a 1,200-seat auditorium, theater, rehearsal spaces and an adjacent academic building with 49,000-square-feet of classrooms and faculty offices. Designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, the team worked from an environmentally sustainable design and implemented sustainable construction methods. Sustainable elements were also incorporated into the project. These elements included green roofs to reduce stormwater runoff and reduce the heat-island effect, photovoltaic panels to generate 15 percent of the building’s energy requirements and a bioswale for stormwater treatment.

We continue to serve Soka University as part of the design team for the university’s first STEM building and two new residence halls.  All three of these buildings are under construction and slated for opening in Fall 2020.

Standard of Excellence

“As a superior educational environment, the Soka University campus project balances ecological sustainability considerations with unique architectural design on a challenging hillside development.”

Mike T.
West Region Land Development Practice Lead

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