Golden West College Campus


Founded in 1966, Golden West College in Huntington, California recently embarked on a plan to upgrade its aging facilities. The college’s maintenance infrastructure had reached the end of its lifespan, and was failing with greater frequency. Additionally, the systems installed in the 1960s were not nearly as efficient as today’s systems. To aid in a large-scale retrocommissioning project designed to help correct these issues, Golden West College chose Southland Industries to serve as its prime contractor.

Southland upgraded the HVAC, electrical, lighting, plumbing and ceiling infrastructure of 18 buildings on the Golden West campus. The new plumbing infrastructure included sewer, storm drain, make-up water and natural gas lines.  

Southland also installed a new campus-wide energy management system that included a central plant powered by a new 1,400 ton cooling/13 million BTU heating system and 400 horsepower boiler. This included 26,000 linear feet of underground chilled and hot water piping in a distribution loop that served 20 new and existing buildings connected to the central plant.


It was important for Golden West to preserve whatever elements of the existing system that were still in good working order. Southland devised a plan to integrate those pieces with the new and modern upgrades. It chose a centralized energy management and controls system that would seamlessly combine the old mechanical elements with the new ones into an efficient, unified system.

As a public institution serving approximately 15,000 students, Golden West wanted to minimize the construction impact on students. Minimizing disruption, Southland divided the project into smaller pieces and renovated only two to three buildings at a time. Students who had classes scheduled in buildings under renovation were moved to nearby classrooms that were equally convenient and comfortable. In addition, Southland excavated the 6,400 linear feet of trenching during the summer, when fewer students were on campus.


Due to Southland’s seamless integration of old and new system components, Golden West College generated over $500,000 in energy rebates from local utility provider, Southern California Edison.  The college also saves thousands of dollars each month in electricity costs. In addition, the 26,000 linear foot underground distribution loop—one of the more potentially disruptive aspects of the project—was carried out in three months and completed ahead of schedule. 

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