SSB wins 2019 Best Project Award

Cal Poly Pomona’s Student Services Building (SSB) earned the 2019 Best Projects Award of Merit in the Higher Education/Research category from Engineering News-Record (ENR), California, a leading construction industry publication. This award is given annually to an exceptional project in California or Hawaii.

The SSB was completely constructed in fall 2018 by lead design firm CO Architects, a firm known for delivering intriguing, award-winning building designs, according to ENR. 

The SSB contains three levels, measures 138,325 square feet and is covered by a two-acre roof with a design inspired by the San Gabriel Mountains and Foothills which totaled $79.559 million, according to the project descriptions of CO Architects. The SSB opened for use in January 2019. 

The SSB was built to replace the former Classroom, Laboratory and Administration (CLA) Building. The SSB offers services such as tuition, financial aid, outreach recruitment, academic affairs, admissions, cashiers and houses the office of President Soraya Coley and many more.  

Although the SSB is award winning, some staff and students have different takes on the structure.

A 24-year-old psychology transfer student working in the SSB, who decided to remain anonymous for job security, stated the SSB is an incredible “spaceship”-appearing structure. However, she does not like how disorganized the workplace is. She stated one of the issues that remains is that students who work in the SSB have yet to be given access to the doors, so it is a difficult task to get in on time and do their jobs.

David Orozco, a 2019 junior transfer technology and operations management student, thinks the SSB is an innovative and sustainable structure. Orozco said he is fascinated by the building’s high-tech features, spacious areas, large windows and friendly environment.

“I think it’s awesome … I didn’t expect it to have as much as it has,” Orozco said. “I think the coverage actually provides better lighting, believe it or not. You can say it’s like an umbrella.”

The SSB houses three levels in the main building and two levels in the west building with a 50-foot-high passageway to walk through.
through and access both sides of the structure. (Carlos Olivares | The Poly Post)

Transfer graduation advisor for business majors, Agustin Martinez, has his office in the SSB and enjoys the building’s open concept and the effortless accessibility to run into staff and students to spark conversation. However, he feels the open concept can be dangerous in the case of an active shooter and said there is yet to be a safety precaution for that.

“I’ve learned to enjoy the open concept a little bit in the sense that it is an open workspace and you’re kind of forced to interact with somebody else regardless of where you are. Whereas before, we kind of just went to our spot and that was it,” Martinez said. “The only aspect that I would want more improvement on is the safety aspect of it. Just a little bit more insight in regard to safety itself with everything that’s been going on.”

Admission records specialist and CPP alumna Felecia Avila had her office in the CLA and stated the new SSB is much more advanced and provides a better work environment because there are more windows than blank walls. While these aspects uplifted her work experience, she specifically enjoys the nice view of campus provided at her workstation.

“I like that we actually have more break room areas for staff versus the previous building we were in .…We actually have kitchen sinks for the break room and we didn’t have that before,” Avila said. “We were having to use the bathroom sinks to wash our dishes. It’s just my cubicle at the end and then the window, so I have a really, really nice view on the second floor.”

The SSB follows the Leader in Energy and Environment Design Platinum standards and will also be featured for its award in the Oct. 7 issue of ENR California magazine. 

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