KTUA was commissioned by Grossmont Community College to design an outdoor educational setting and promote a campus wide water conservation effort by introducing native plants and eliminating excessive turf throughout the central campus. KTUA worked closely with a the College Steering Committee consisting of the facilities department, campus maintenance engineer, biology department and a consulting native plant consultant. KTUA developed eight different native plant communities such as: Coastal Sage Scrub, Oak Woodland, Mixed Chaparral, Chamise Chaparral, Riparian, Maritime Succulent, Desert Succulent and a whimsical native Butterfly/Hummingbird garden.
One of the initial design challenges was transforming a traditional campus setting into a natural native habitat for display, educational and sustainability purposes. Each of the native communities have their own unique characteristics with a site specific plant palette. The plant composition closely matches the characteristics of each native habitat while taking into consideration aesthetic form, function and maintenance criteria established by the Steering Committee. Special observation areas feature pervious paving, artistic styled benches, interpretive signage and recycled materials to create outdoor classroom settings and promote sustainable educational environments. Once all of the designs were completed, KTUA prepared a preliminary construction budget for each plant community. Three of the eight proposed were constructed in 2013 and the others will follow as additional funding becomes available.