California State University – San Marcos Student Union Building

California State University – San Marcos Student Union Building

“We think of ourselves as a university that is student-focused, innovative and vibrant … This building represents exactly what I think are the characteristics of our university.”

CSUSM President Karen Haynes

An Elegant Addition to Campus Life: Engineering the new center to student life at CSUSM

DCI Engineers’ familiarity with the interplay between dual engineering systems was key to the success of the new student union building at California State University – San Marcos. The facility contains a variety of restaurants, lounges and activity rooms, as well as a large rooftop plaza and stepped grass open seating area.

Project Highlights

  • The foundations and lower levels of the building were constructed of cast in place concrete that had to be stepped to follow the natural slope of the site.
  • The large, landscaped plaza at the upper level was located over the ballroom, requiring the design of deep, long-span steel trusses to support landscaping and assembly loading.
  • The seismic force resisting system is a combination of concrete shear walls in the lower levels combined with Buckling Restrained Braced frames located at the open sides of the building. The combination of lateral force resisting systems required sophisticated computer analysis to accurately predict the distribution of seismic and wind forces to the structure.


  • Association of College Unions International 2015 Facility Design Award of Excellence


San Marcos, California
Square Feet: 
Primary Material: 
Leed Certification: 

Social Profiles