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Collage of the Baker Center and students

Warren J. Baker Center for Science and Mathematics

The Heart of Campus

Students in a chemistry lab
Photo by Brittany App.

Located at the heart of campus to powerfully symbolize the central nature of science and mathematics in the university's polytechnic curriculum, the Warren J. Baker Center for Science and Mathematics opened for classes in fall 2013. Every Cal Poly student will take a class in the 189,000-square-foot building, and many will spend a significant portion of their academic careers there.

Learn by Doing has been designed into the building. Ample study spaces encourage teamwork and close student-faculty interaction, advanced instrumentation rarely available to undergraduates fills the labs, and studio classrooms integrate lecture and lab, allowing students to actively discover science.

The Baker Center is Cal Poly's second largest building after the Kennedy Library and one of its most inviting, a place of comfort, beauty, intrigue, and inspiration. The Center provides a graceful landmark on the northwest corner of Via Carta and Inner Perimeter.

A Foundation for Excellence

Every Cal Poly student will take a class in the Baker Center, giving them an excellent foundation in science and mathematics that will allow them to pursue innovative projects in their majors.

Photos

View photos of the new Baker Center. Photo galleries begin with the groundbreaking ceremony and continue through current classroom scenes.

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Vision

Students sitting in front of the Baker Center
Photo by Brittany App.

The vision is about our students, supporting exemplary approaches to teaching and learning, fostering teamwork and community, and establishing a unifying and defining landmark for Cal Poly. The Baker Center is essential to Cal Poly's ability to continue a leadership role in educating students for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Consistent with our Learn by Doing philosophy, the Baker Center  will transform the Cal Poly campus and the way science and mathematics are taught and learned. The building reflects the college's vision by providing an environment that inspires curiosity and encourages teamwork in the teaching and learning process.

Center

Located symbolically at the geographic center of the Cal Poly campus,

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Design

View down the stairway in the Baker Center
Photo by Brittany App.

The Baker Center consists of a six-level central structure devoted to offices and student spaces with wings on either side that house classrooms and laboratories. The central entrance on Level Two connects to Centennial Park on the south side and to a major pedestrian artery on the north. These entrances access offices and conference rooms for chemistry and biochemistry, physics, and earth and soil science.

Stacked above in Levels Three through Six are faculty offices and generous student study spaces. In addition to this main entrance, there are two additional entrances, Level One on the west end for the University classrooms and Level Three on the east end. The Baker Center replaces the north wings of the current science building affectionately known as the Spider Building and is at the center of the Cal Poly campus.

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Crossroads

The Baker Center is a place of extraordinary inspiration and beauty. Together with the planned Centennial Park, it is destined to become Cal Poly's unifying and defining campus landmark. Just as science and mathematics are central to the polytechnic curriculum, pedestrian pathways from the residence halls, public transportation, the University Union, campus dining facilities, and the bookstore, all lead to the Baker Center where they branch symbolically into corridors leading to the professional colleges.

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Fact Sheet

Green roof on the Baker Center
Photo by Brittany App.

Cal Poly's Baker Center houses:

  • Instructional and research facilities for chemistry and biochemistry, physics, and soil science
  • University classrooms
  • The Center for Applications in Biotechnology
  • The Kenneth N. Edwards Western Coatings Technology Center
  • Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy
  • Department offices for Physics, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Natural
    Resources Management and Environmental Sciences
  • Student spaces
  • Faculty offices

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Funding

Baker Center viewed from the south
Photo by Brittany App.

The $119 million, 189,000-square-foot building was made possible by voter-approved state education construction bonds and $19 million in private donations to Cal Poly. View the photo galleries to watch the construction from beginning to end. Read on for details, a project factsheet, sustainability strategies and building plans or download some fun facts and statistics (pdf).

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Building Information

  • Total Assignable Area: 110,000 Square Feet
  • Total Gross Area: 187,000 Square Feet
  • Building Efficiency: 59%

Map of pedestrian traffice flow around Center for Science and Mathematics

Allocation of Occupied Space

  • University Classrooms - 7.3%
  • Studio Classrooms, Instructional Labs / Technical Space:
    • Chemistry and Biochemistry - 33.8%
    • Physics - 20.9%
    • Soil Science - 4.5%
  • Student/Faculty Research Space - 7.7%
  • Environmental Biotechnology Institute - 2.9%
  • Western Coatings Technology Center - 2.7%
  • Student Interaction Space - 9.6%
  • Faculty Offices / Administrative Support - 10.6%

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Sustainability Strategies

The Baker Center exemplifies flexibility, sustainability, and efficiency in its design. Cal Poly students will be inspired by the respect for the environment, energy, and natural resources demonstrated in the building's design and construction and will be able to monitor resource utilization through visual real-time displays.

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Forest Stewardship Council Certified Wood

The laboratory casework is certified by FSC. This ensures the sustainable logging of trees and use of plantation grown wood.

 
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Recycled Content

Recycled steel is used for structural framing. Fly ash is used in the concrete.

 
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Water-Use Reduction

High efficiency plumbing fixtures and waterless urinals conserve water, and stormwater for non-potable applications is re-used.

 
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Natural Ventilation

Operable windows improve the occupant comfort, and radiant floors cool and heat office space efficiently without unnecessary fan power.

 
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Laboratory Active Monitoring System

Laboratories are actively monitored for pollutants to maximize both safety and efficiency. Chilled beams provide efficient wet laboratory cooling.

 
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Building Monitoring System

Data on the various uses of the building is collected and displayed in an artistic manner through flat screen monitors.

 
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Green Roofs

Intensive and extensive roof gardens mitigate the building temperature, increase the lifespan of the roof, create new wildlife habitat, and mitigate stormwater runoff volume.

 
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Rainwater Harvesting

Intensive and extensive roof gardens mitigate the building temperature, increase the lifespan of the roof, create new wildlife habitat, and mitigate stormwater runoff volume.

 
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Natural Daylighting and Views

The local micro-climate and views are honored by using filtered direct sunlighting in public spaces with strategic glass placement.

 
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Use of Regional Materials

The stone used is from local quarries, and the concrete contains local aggregates.

 
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Native Low-Water Landscaping

A palette of local plant species minimizes the need for maintenance, irrigation, or mowing, and creates a natural habitat for local wildlife.

 

Sustainability features with red icons do not have a funding source at this time, and are contingent on the kindness and generosity of our donors.

 

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Floor Plans

The Baker Center consists of six levels. The central portion contains offices and student spaces, and the east and west wings house classrooms and laboratories.

Legend for floor level diagrams below

Level 6

Level 6 floorplan shows classrooms in the west wing; offices and circulation in the center; and laboratories with some offices in the east wing

Level 6 Floor Plan

 

Level 5

Level 5 floorplan shows classrooms in the west wing; offices and circulation in the center; and laboratories with some offices in the east wing

Level 5 Floor Plan

 

Level 4

Level 4 floorplan shows mostly laboratories, with classrooms and offices in the west wing; offices and circulation in the center; and laboratories with some classrooms and offices in the east wing

Level 4 Floor Plan

 

Level 3

Level 3 floorplan shows mostly laboratories, with classrooms and offices in the west wing; offices and circulation in the center; and laboratories with some classrooms and offices in the east wing

Level 3 Floor Plan

 

Level 2

Level 2 floorplan shows mostly laboratories, with classrooms and offices in the west wing; offices and circulation in the center; and laboratories with some classrooms and offices in the east wing

Level 2 Floor Plan

 

Level 1

Level 1 floorplan shows large classrooms and studio space in the west wing; the building center and east wing begin on Level 2 above.

Level 1 Floor Plan

 

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