In May 2010 I took the Facilities and Operations Coordinator position with Second Harvest Food Bank in San Jose, CA. Little did I know that all my education, experience and expertise in Construction and Interior Design would be put to the test. And what a test it was! In April 2011 Second Harvest was donated a 75,350 square foot office building in the corporate district of San Jose off of North First Street. The original idea for this new building was to add more space for our food distribution and convert the offices into open warehouse with plenty of pallet racks. Upon inspections however, the plans changed about 5 times and the final decision was to convert the building into a new and improved volunteer sort center and produce distribution warehouse. The planning began in May 2011, Construction began in September and the building was fully completed with operations beginning on April 23rd, 2012.

Below is a chronological list with pictures of this project.

Press Release: Donated Building Celebration and Ribbon Cutting

April 2011, Met with Directors, Marketing and the Volunteer Group to gather a list of needs/amenities for the new facility according to the new plan. I then met with our Architect “Tolbert Designs” and created the floor plan, specified finishes, and set specific design details accordingly.

Below are pictures of the inside and outside BEFORE any construction began:

Front Entrance of Building

The Front Reception/Lobby

The Inside of the Building

The Original, Small, Warehouse Part of the Building

The Original Truck Dock at the Rear of the Building

The building itself needed paint. As it was donated, the building came with beige walls and brown wood trim – it was outdated. Corporate buildings in the area surrounding the building were modern and I decided on two tones of Grey for the walls and trim. Also, the front entrance of the building came covered with overbearing tree’s, foliage and a bench. I had the space opened up by removing the tree’s, bench and updated the landscaping as well. Before and After pictures are below.

The building, as it was received: Covered in the front with tree’s

Original Colors beige paint and wood trim.

The Bench and Sidewalk

The sketch below is my proposal for the Food Bank, it shows paint color and the idea of logo representation on the front of the building. The logo is a plate with a fork and knife on the sides, I thought it would be a good idea to add some “fun” and give the building some logo representation/landmarking.

My sketch of the “New Front Idea” with tree’s removed and logo representation.

The Building, Painted Two Tone Grey’s (light walls, dark trim), the bench is removed, the tree’s are gone which opens the space, the Logo is represented with a large plate display on the lawn and a fork and knife on the two pillars. *also note: Upgraded walkway from brick to concrete (Addressed ADA Standards)

At the Front Lobby Reception, the client wanted a modern update with simple features. As a food bank they did not want to look too ritzy but they did not want to look plain. They wanted a secure reception area and a left entrance to the volunteer side of the building and a right entrance to the office/executive side of the building. They also wanted to add a small conference room for vendor briefings and a phone room for clients. The original layout is shown below along with my sketches, demolition during construction and the after photos.

Old Reception -Center View

Old Reception -Left View

Old Reception -Right View

Plan View Sketch: Shows closed reception plan with security gate, addition of conference room at corner right, addition of a client phone room at top left and two entrances

3D View -Elevation Sketch

Left View Sketch – Volunteer Entrance Side of Reception

Right View Sketch – Office/Executive Entrance shown with Conference Room Addition

Making Selections

Interior Paint, Non-Slip Tile, Carpet, Wood, and Counter top Selections

Reception Demolition/Construction Progress

This is the Center View of the Reception – Completed (Locking security gate pulls down from the center)

This is the Reception on the Left Side, Completed

This is the Right side of the Reception, Completed (with New Conference Room)

This is a snapshot of the entire Reception AFTER

This building used to be all office space, cubicles, conference rooms, small “clean rooms” where they made computer parts and a very small warehouse. The new plan for the building included creating safe, fun and strategically designed “Volunteer Sort” space, offices, warehousing and cold storage. The entire building was gutted and remodeled.

These are the before pictures of the building interior:::

Giving a tour of the facility before we began with demo

The entire building comprised of Office Spaces and Clean Rooms with low ceilings.

More of the Interior BEFORE

The very small existing warehouse space *notice the low ceiling

The “Volunteer Sort Center” is where people within the community go to provide help to those in need, or, to work for the food they receive as assistance. The plan for this facility included creating a safe, fun environment for the volunteers where donated food could be sorted in one room, packed into delivery bags in another while received and stored in a completely separate area. The Food Bank wanted a big, welcoming Reception area for their guests as many high profile companies come to support by packing food too.

These are my sketches for the re-design, pictures during construction and the AFTER photos of the Volunteer Side of the building::::

This is the Volunteer Reception -it’s just on the other side of the Main Reception (to the left). The idea was to have a desk for briefing guests, a flat screen t.v for imagery and training, a wall with a large display and added decor elements of Fork/Knife/Spoon lighting


Demolition began September 2011, Here you see the jaws of the operation

Removing the ceiling, walls and gutting the entire building took about two months.

Once we got all the walls and ceiling down and out, we began with structural adjustments, electrical and data wiring, adding bathrooms and floor drains as well.

Here I am on site, supervising this 8.5 Million Dollar project

Framing Began in January, 2012

And here are the AFTER photo’s of the remodeled interior:::

The Volunteer Reception Room (to the Left of the main lobby) AFTER the remodel

The large Volunteer Sort Room – A nice, fun, safe place for volunteers in a climate controlled setting with floor drains and waterproof cabinets and FRP on the walls so groups can wash and sort produce at faster rates in a cleaner environment.

The Yellow Volunteer Sort Room

The Volunteer Center Break Room

The New Warehouse with Pallet Racks. *Removed the ceiling tiles, added concealed ducting, sprinklers, concrete flooring and LEED approved warehouse T8 lighting.

New Warehouse; Hallway between 10,000sf cooler and Volunteer Sort Rooms: This allows receiving from trucks straight into the cooler and then delivery from the cooler to climate controlled room for food sorting in a quick, safe fashion. (Plan is to preserve food in better condition) Added Guardrails throughout facility to protect walls from Forklift damage

New Bathrooms; FDA, ADA requirements satisfied. Non-slip tile floor, stainless appliances, ample lighting and clean colors

New Bathrooms Image 2

New Bathrooms Image 3

The Executive Lounge for Employees

A quiet, comfy and fun seating area for breaks and meetings inside the office pavilion area (on the right of the Main Lobby)

The following images are for the Custom Lights I had made by Cj Flores of Metal Curves in Santa Cruz, CA. (Custom Lighting Vendor call 831-345-7362)

These lights are a decorative touch to the front lobby, for both entrances 1. The Volunteer Side and 2. The Office Pavilion Side.

My Sketch for the idea of the Custom Lights. One each; Fork, Knife and Spoon, to be hung above the fixed window therefore able to be seen from each side of the room and front lobby as shown.

The lights, AFTER creation by Metal Curves, Installed and Connected


And Finally, the Truck Dock area behind the building was also remodeled. As it was before there was a basketball court, a lot of tree’s and other islands therefore making any deliveries very difficult. Here are the before and after pictures of the work I had done to rectify the trucking needs.

The rear of the building BEFORE: notice the islands

The rear of the building BEFORE: Basketball Court

The rear of the building: The original delivery dock

Tearing up the rear of the building

Parking lot and dock demo progress

Framing of the new docks

The new docks AFTER the remodel, 9 spots for 53 foot trailer deliveries

A 53 Foot Truck, The actual very First delivery after remodel completion


Pictures just dont do justice for the Second Harvest Project I completed here. If you would like a tour of the facility or if you have any questions, please just let me know.

Thank you, it has been my pleasure to share this with you.