Vista Civic Center

Bringing the Outdoors In

For years the City of Vista had to “make do” with a 1950s-vintage building they quickly outgrew, requiring a village of temporary structures. Mounting maintenance and operations costs, in addition to diminishing productivity led the City to pursue its vision for a new Civic Center.

Taking advantage of the hillside park building site for the 103,000-sf complex—a unique design which obscures the delineation between the great outdoors and interior space—was the brainchild of architect carrier johnson + CULTURE. True to its mission, carrier johnson + CULTURE developed a design for the $51-million Vista Civic Center that connects to its surroundings while delivering enduring civic and social value. San Diego-based general contractor Highland Partnership, Inc., brought the serpentine design to life by seamlessly linking the civic center to the adjoining park on several different levels through bridges, courtyards, openings in the building and connecting pathways.

Surmounting Challenges Upfront—Complex Sitework Sets Project Pace

Berg re-located the existing street utilities around the site—performing all of the work at night to avoid interfering with daily traffic. Once the utilities were moved, Highland had to excavate and re-compact soil materials up to 20 feet deep across the entire site, a challenge further complicated by the removal of over one million gallons of groundwater.

Berg’s Technologies—Maximizing Total Station GPS

Utilizing its Total Station GPS System allowed Berg to precisely pinpoint locations for electrical layout, which were based on detailing experts’ 3D CAD coordination drawings. Building Information Modeling (BIM) further enhanced Berg’s coordination with other trades, facilitated conflict resolution in advance of entering the field and synchronized efforts on site for the installation of power, lighting, site lighting, tel/data, design-build fire alarm, security system and emergency generator.

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Materials Management—Containing Cost Escalation

Although Bergelectric prepared the initial bid based on design-build documents and drawings that were 80% complete, its professional estimators needed to ensure that the pricing provided was for a complete electrical system. Berg’s solid vendor relationships allowed for pre-purchase agreements for all materials in order to contain cost escalations.

Building Lean—Skills Set Leads to Cost Savings

Faced with the integrated construction of two separate buildings—a three-story steel-frame structure to house the mayor, council members and chambers, as well as city operations; and a two-story facility in the dual role of Community Room/Emergency Operations Center—Berg performed detailed value analysis at the outset to identify potential electrical savings that honored the original design intent and resulted in:

  • Converting the incoming service conductors from copper to aluminum;
  • Reducing the number of lighting fixtures and recommending alternates;
  • Delivering green alternatives that include LED exterior accent lighting, high-efficiency transformers, energy-saving ballasts and lamps; and
  • Using electrical assemblies provided by Berg’s Prefabrication Department.

Since the complex was completed in 2011, the citizens of Vista have enjoyed a long-awaited, fully-integrated municipal building that not only combines community and civic uses, but is also a sought after destination all its own.

102,552-square feet

Electrical Construction Cost
$6.5 Million

August 2008 – May 2011

Delivery Method
Design Assist

Other Team Members
Highland Partnership
Carrier Johnson
Michael Wall Engineering

Berg Regional Office
San Diego