By Sabrina Ziegler, Contributor, Valley Ag Voice
The Kern Community College District Board of Trustees approved moving forward with the construction of a new Agriculture Building on the Bakersfield College campus. Construction will begin in the Fall of 2022 and will be completed in Spring of 2024.
The building is being designed by Teter, LLC, and will house the school’s flagship department programs, including plant and animal science, food science, Ag mechanics and more.
“We’ve been looking forward to a new Ag facility for a long time, said Norma Rojas-Mora, Director of Communications and Community Relations. The original facility was built when the program had 3 full-time instructors. Now there are 11 full-time instructors and 7 majors, so the facilities “needed to catch up with our staffing and curriculum,” she said.
“BC has one of the premier Ag programs, I believe, in the [Central] Valley, if not the state,” said Kern Community College District Board Vice President, Romeo Agbalog. “This new building will be a landmark project for a premier program in the Valley.
The new building, combined with local scholarship opportunities will “really bring Ag to the forefront there on campus,” said Kern County Farm Bureau Administrator Colleen Tabor.
Its Ag Department makes BC the leading feeder school to the California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, which ranked first and tenth in California and the United States, respectively, as the premier four-year university for agricultural studies, according to the department website.
The new Ag building will expand the BC Ag department’s instruction capabilities.
“We’re excited to provide modern laboratory facilities for each of our science-based agriculture majors, where we previously only had one space to accommodate all of our lab-based courses. Whether it is soil science, wine making, or veterinary science labs, all of our Ag students will have a space to learn the hands-on skills the industry is demanding,” said Rojas-Mora. “We will also have a state-of-the-art Ag power and machinery shop to train future mechanics on the latest technology.”
The Ag building is part of a series of construction projects on the BC campus since the passing of Measure J and additional funding, amounting to $415 million the school received for construction and improvements in 2016. Since then, BC has undergone a transformation, which has included renovated parking lots, access points installed in interior buildings, a Veterans Resource Center, Campus Center, and updated features to the Memorial Stadium, with installation of an artificial turf, new restrooms, concessions stand, press box and score board.
These are just a few of the renovation projects which were slated to materialize from 2018 through 2036.
Rojas-Mora said, “We’re so grateful that we can create a space that will help students learn and practice the important skills needed to keep our Ag industry strong for years to come. This project is another example of the incredible modernization of our campus that is becoming a reality thanks to the community approving Measure J.”