The College of the Canyons Valencia Campus officials hosted their groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the new Institute of Culinary Education building on Monday.
“We really are excited about this event,” said Bruce Battle, director of advertising and public information at College of the Canyons. “Since the culinary program began at COC, it has had great response from students and faculty, but it needed a place to grow.”
The new building will be located to the south of Mentry Hall where it will host laboratories, kitchens and classrooms.
“The program itself has been up against the limitations of the classrooms that we’ve been at, Battle said. “We have had to cap it at smaller class sizes. 12000 square feet is a lot of space to work with and I expect every foot to be filled.”
Specific elements include a show kitchen, a savory kitchen, a sweets kitchen, a banquet kitchen, a wine studies classroom, multiple culinary labs and instructor office spaces.
“It’s nice to have a permanent home and new resources, we hope to see tremendous growth,” Battle said. “The classes and resources will be second to none. It’s a great facility.”
The projects cost totaled about $8 million, that is district funded and paid through donations and Measure M bond funds.
“Today is a celebration of collaboration and partnership of what we’ve accomplished by working together,” said Diane G. Van Hook, chancellor of College of the Canyons. “I want to thank all of you and congratulate you on your willingness to support us, so that we can serve our community in the best ways.”
Private culinary institutions can cost $50,000 per year, while College of the Canyons costs $46 per unit.
“Having an on-campus culinary facility will make a significant difference in the lives of students who are trying to manage their time between the classroom and the kitchen and begin their careers,” said Cindy Schwanke, COC culinary arts instructor and lead iCuE faculty member. “The food service industry continues to grow, and employ millions of people. It’s exciting to know that College of the Canyons is a part of that.”
The building is scheduled to be completed during the Fall 2014 semester with the first students being able to use it in the Spring 2015 semester.
“Everyone enjoy the moment, all the chefs and students that came on their summer break. This is a moment,” said Schwanke. “I have two words that I want to steal from Oprah Winfrey, ‘Dream big, dream big.’ Thank you Chancellor Van Hook for allowing me and inspiring me to dream big, allowing my team to dream big. Here it is, to dreaming big.”