Cal Poly Pomona to add 1,800 parking spaces, hires Bomel Construction to build low-profile, easily accessible garage on university’s southwest side

POMONA, Calif., Feb. 16, 2015––Officials at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, have known for quite some time that an additional parking garage has been needed. Located in a hilly setting about 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, Cal Poly Pomona serves more than 20,000 students, faculty and staff––a population on the rise since the first campus parking structure, a 2,300-stall garage, was erected in 2008.  With more student housing units added since then, more units in planning, plus weekend visitors using athletic facilities, the 1,400-acre campus has evolved into a 24/7 environment with an ever-increasing traffic flow.

What Should Be Done?
The overriding challenge facing the construction team at Cal Poly Pomona was to design and build a garage that fulfilled the university’s needs for more spaces but did not dominate the landscape in the way that multi-level Parking Structure No. 1 on the school’s north side does. Optimizing the process of loading and unloading of vehicles was another critical function that needed to be integrated into Parking Structure No. 2.

Enter Bomel Construction, International Parking Design and Steinberg Architects, the winners of the design-build competition for PS No. 2. During the competitive proposal process, senior staff at Bomel Construction hosted workshops at the company’s Anaheim Hills headquarters where the Cal Poly Pomona construction staff detailed its needs and listened to what Bomel’s experts were suggesting. Bomel’s proposal was the only one among the three bidders’ proposals that made sure Cal Poly Pomona had a sufficient number of entrances and exits around the structure.

Why Was Bomel Chosen?
“One of the main reasons we liked Bomel was because they answered all of the questions in the request for proposals,” said Cal Poly Pomona Senior Project Manager Bruyn Bevans. “That made it really quite easy to look at Bomel’s [proposal] and realize that they were actually taking into consideration what our desires were for getting a structure. Bomel was listening to what we had to say and then came back and gave us new insights about what they could do. They redid the traffic study and told us they felt they needed to do something differently, other than what was shown in the CEQA documents.”

Bomel, which has built hundreds of parking structures for private and public entities in its 45-year history––including at universities in the UC and Cal State systems, but not Cal Poly Pomona’s PS No. 1, demonstrated a “cognitive answer to how they were going to unload and load the structure, which was something the other two bidders skirted over,” elaborated Bevans as he stood in the bright sun on the surface parking lot that will become PS No. 2 when it is completed next year. 

Circulation in and out of a college campus parking structure can be a frenetic process, especially at a large, primarily commuter university like Cal Poly Pomona. Typically, students are in a rush to get into the parking lot since many are running late for their class. Their main concern is finding a space, parking and setting their hurried feet on campus. What’s more, special events held at the campus frequently have the majority of parkers simultaneously leaving the campus.

“When you have 1,000 students doing the same thing at the same time, entering and exiting the parking structure, you have to make sure they are able to get where they need to go and not cause any major problems in traffic flow,” Bevans explained. “Bomel understands that. They got it. They took a look at what we were doing and said ‘you know what, here are all these entrances.’ And when we have special events, when everyone may arrive at a different time, but they all leave at the same time, we’ll have multiple exit points to take care of that.”

Construction Set To Start
Bomel Senior Project Manager Kasey Shay is taking care of the construction phase for PS No. 2, which will have about 1,800 stalls. PS No. 2 will be built on the southwestern side of campus, on land that is now occupied by 600 spaces in parking lots K1 and K2.

Shay said design development drawings were submitted in December. Construction drawings and the civil engineering package went into plan check on January 19.

“Since Cal Poly Pomona is in the state university system, there is no city or county plan check. The school does it themselves,” said Shay. “We only have to go through the Division of the State Architect for the ADA Accessibility Review, a requirement of the California State University process. “The school hires private consultants to review the documents. So when it goes to the Division of the State Architect, we’re halfway home already. It really speeds up the process.”

 The design build team, which includes Air-Tec Mechanical, Apollo Electric, structural engineering firm Culp & Tanner, Civil Works Engineers, Don Brandel Plumbing, Integrity Fire and Lynn Capouya Landscape, devised a plan for a 1,200-foot-long parking structure that will have one underground level, a level at grade and an above-ground level that is actually entered at grade at the University Drive entrance just north of Temple Boulevard, which runs downhill to the east. The upper level covers about two-thirds of the other levels. An extensively landscaped walkway breaks the garage into two pieces, visually reducing the overall scale while creating an essential pedestrian thoroughfare for campus visitors and students of Cal Poly Pomona and I-Poly. The property for International Polytechnic High School, a Los Angeles County-owned school with a population of a few hundred students, abuts the lot where PS No. 2 will be erected. I-Poly students must have equal access to the college campus since many take courses at Cal Poly Pomona at some point during their high school years.

Relocation of all critical-path utilities will take about a month, Shay said. There are roughly 2,000 feet of storm drains located right down the middle of the existing parking lot. Water lines and more than a dozen electrical power poles of varying sizes and styles will be removed or relocated.

Then there’s the pesky project within a project: excavating a lot that is 1,200-feet long by 188-feet wide by 11-feet deep with a shallow water table. “We have to remove almost 120,000 yards of soil. It’s about 8,500 truckloads of dirt,” explained Shay, adding that the earth-moving process should begin in May. “There’s bedrock, shale in one area and then in another it’s sandy. It runs the gamut,” said Shay, who started as a project engineer with family owned Bomel in 1998.

PS No. 2 will have five vehicle entrances and exits. “Because of I-Poly, we have two main focal points of the garage. Usually there is one, the elevator core. Now we have one on the south, the start of the walkway, and there is a double elevator on the north façade,” Shay explained.

Although it’s still early in the life cycle of the approximately $34-million project, Cal Poly Pomona’s Bevans, who also serves as the coordinator and instructor in the university’s construction management program, is enjoying the experience of working with Bomel Construction.

‘These Guys Are Experts’
“Selecting Bomel was a no-brainer for us,” said Bevans, who has been at Cal Poly Pomona for nearly 12 years and has more than 25 years of experience in the construction industry. “Bomel brought a top-notch team forward and honed into exactly what we wanted. We’re not experts at parking structures. We said, ‘This is our space, this is what we want to accomplish, tell us what we need.’ These guys are experts; they make their living at this. We said, ‘Let’s hear what they have to say.’ Why wouldn’t we want to listen to them?”

About Bomel Construction Co.: Established in 1970, Anaheim Hills, Calif.-based Bomel Construction is widely regarded as the dean of parking structure construction in the West. The family-owned business generated $135 million in total revenue in 2014. Its other current high-profile projects include Plaza San Clemente (1,167 stalls), Del Amo Fashion Center (1,950) and Westfield Topanga (1,665), with several additional parking structures set to begin construction this year. Bomel Construction, a design-build concrete contractor, has completed major parking structures for developers and owners of many of the largest shopping malls, casinos, stadiums, high-rise office buildings, colleges and universities throughout the West. Bomel has regional offices in Carlsbad, Calif., and Las Vegas.

For more information, please contact Paul Napolitano at 626-852-9959 or

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