Kirsch Center

Kirsch Center for Environmental Studies

A Building that Teaches

Opened to students in September 2005, the Kirsch Center is the lead demonstration building for energy innovation and sustainability in the California Community College system, rated as the first community college LEED platinum building in the nation.

A 17-year effort, the Kirsch Center was conceived and is operated by De Anza faculty, staff and students, with the philosophy that this facility is "a building that teaches about energy, resources and stewardship."

Students, Staff, Faculty and Community Partners

The Kirsch Center was conceived, funded, designed and built through a collaborative effort.


The De Anza Associated Student Body (DASB) provided $180,000 for the building’s conceptual design, and the Steve and Michele Kirsch Foundation contributed $2 million toward construction. The rest of the $10-million project was paid for with local bond funds. The Morgan Family Foundation gave $3 million to endow the Morgan Family Chair in Environmental Studies.


Today the building is a place for students to learn about environmental stewardship, sustainability, and energy and resource management, teaming with the broader community to make a difference in many ways.

Energy Goals and Other Building Features

The area of the two-story building is approximately 22,000 gross square feet. At the time it was built, this project exemplified the next generation of educational innovation.


Parts of the building are potentially an around-the-clock, 24/7 facility.


In addition to high quality classrooms and labs, students can work in self-paced programs at special open study stations throughout the building.


Learn more about the energy goals and other building features that make the Kirsch Center a favorite place for students to learn about how to be part of the solution in building a sustainable society.

South side of Kirsch Center

New Direction
, a visionary song for the Kirsch Center

Listen to A New Direction, a collaborative song-writing effort by eight Kirsch Center visionaries, composed and performed by Carl Villareal.


Click on a thumbnail image below to see the Kirsch Center photo gallery.



Kirsch Center view from north

Kirsch Center view from north

Kirsch Center view from north

Kirsch Center view from west

Kirsch Center view from south

Kirsch Center view from east

Kirsch Center for Environmental Studies
Building: KC 218
Contact: Pat Cornely, Executive Director
Phone: 408.864.8628


Last Updated: 10/29/13