Thursday, January 2, 2014

Cuyamaca College alum headed construction of new San Diego Central Library

Darren Greenhalgh
The opening last fall of the San Diego Central Library marked the closing chapter of a 14-year undertaking for Cuyamaca College alum Darren Greenhalgh.

The 1983 graduate of the college’s surveying program headed the massive $187 million construction project as the deputy director of engineering and capital projects for the City of San Diego.

With a 350-seat auditorium, a charter high school, garden courtyard and cafĂ©, an art gallery, public meeting rooms and special-events spaces, the nine-story downtown facility is much more than just a place to browse for reading material.  Visually, its iconic dome is already a prominent feature on the city’s skyline.

“When the Library opened to the public I felt great accomplishment and pride,” said Greenhalgh, who went on to earn his bachelor’s in civil engineering and MBA from San Diego State University. “I am proud about the teamwork and the success of maintaining the budget and schedule, as well as providing all the amenities and grandly unique touches that everyone is so excited about.”

A commemorative brick  in the courtyard credits the work of Greenhalgh and four others on the city project team, but the Cuyamaca alum admits he has his own secret spot that he’s marked that he looks forward to showing his future grandchildren.

Born and raised in El Cajon, Greenhalgh graduated from Grossmont High School and started at Cuyamaca College the year it opened in 1978.

“My years at Cuyamaca were a great experience,” Greenhalgh said, adding that it was an older brother's recommendation to choose surveying and civil engineering that led him to the college. “Cuyamaca was new, the classes were small and the support from the faculty and staff laid a great foundation for my transfer to SDSU.”

It wasn’t just his academic life that benefitted from Cuyamaca College. He met his wife, Teresa, in a racquetball class and the two began dating after a yearlong friendship. They’ve been married now for 28 year and have three children – Brittany, Kyle and Sean -- all also products of Cuyamaca College. Teresa is an administrative assistant at the college.

Greenhalgh has maintained connections with other surveying and engineering students he first met at Cuyamaca, which now enrolls about 9,000 students.  A member of the advisory committee for the college’s surveying program, he, along with wife,also are supporters of the college’s Extended Opportunity Programs & Services department, which provides special help to students with economic and educational disadvantages.

With the largest project of his career now completed, Greenhalgh’s next assignment is tackling a project three times the size of the library – the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, with an estimated  $520 million price tag and a 2018 scheduled completion.