The new EF Education First International Language Center just celebrated the opening of the new campus located in the Midway District. Marked by sunlight and an energy-efficient, healthful environment, the newly completed two-building complex is drawing applause from new students and staff and the surrounding community.
The 1,400-student campus is adapted from a 10-story former healthcare building with panoramic views of the city and the Pacific Ocean and a second two-story office structure. In addition to offering EF Education First’s renowned curriculum in language training, educational travel, and academic degree programs, the state-of-the-art facilities offer extensive fitness and leisure amenities including volleyball courts, a soccer field, a swimming pool with pool house, and a landscaped outdoor terrace. In this way, the campus takes advantage of San Diego’s temperate year-round climate and reflects the global educator’s belief in “vibrant campus life and maximum cultural exchange.”
Renowned for its higher education projects throughout the United States, the firm adds its signature of designing authentic, dynamic learning environments that connect to the educator’s global mission. New study zones and socializing and residential areas for EF Education First provide for collaborative experiences both inside and outside the classrooms. From its double-height lobby with grand stair to its open lounge spaces located throughout the buildings, students and faculty find ample opportunities for casual interactions and group study. Skylights and a new two-story curtain wall entry — as well as dozens of new windows — bring daylight and views to students, faculty and staff.
Taking the highly sustainable approach of adapting existing buildings for its new campus in San Diego, EF Education First chose to renovate and convert the vacant 1972 hospital structure in the bustling Midway area not far from the Pacific Coast. Along with the 10-story, 179,000-square-foot main building, a second two-story building of about 5,000 square feet, originally built for medical offices, is integrated into the new educational environment. To make this happen, the design team led a challenging entitlement process required to change the property’s use from hospital to education campus.
Upgrades to the buildings include new, energy-efficient systems and colorful and tastefully branded interiors, as well as 37 technically advanced classrooms and study areas. The facilities accommodate 658 student beds along with 10 living units for resident advisors, with a total of 229 student living units in a mix of two-, three- and four-bedroom configurations. In addition to the outdoor fitness options, the design team reimagined the interiors with functional and eye-pleasing amenities including a full-service cafeteria and coffee kiosk, a large auditorium and a cinema room, a new gym and aerobics studios, as well as a dedicated gaming room.
A seasoned team of architects and designers led the Carrier Johnson + CULTURE team including lead designer Lori Reynolds, NCIDQ, CID, and the designers Dina Gonzales and Nancy Kind for the 10-story building. For the two-story conversion, Nancy Kind served as both project manager and lead designer.
Now located in more than 500 offices and operating in 112 countries around the world, EF Education First was founded in Sweden in 1965 and is now headquartered in Switzerland. As a leading privately held, international education company, EF Education First specializes in language training, educational travel, academic degree programs, and cultural exchange.