$20 million B. Robert Burdo Culinary Arts Center set to serve students and public
SANTA ROSA — Students won’t be the only ones with cause to celebrate when the doors to Santa Rosa Junior College’s new culinary arts facility opens in January: The 22,000-square-foot building will also be serving up food and treats to the public.
Named for B. Robert Burdo, who has served on SRJC’s Board of Trustees for over 25 years, the new facility is across the street from the main college campus on Mendocino Avenue.
The first floor of the two-story building will feature a dining room and demonstration kitchen, a teaching kitchen, a classroom, a dining and wine education area, a student lobby and a receiving area, as well as a production bakery, retail bakery, public café and restaurant. There will also be an ice cream and chocolate area and a pizza oven.
The second floor will feature two additional classrooms, a second student lobby, a teaching kitchen, faculty offices and a deck. There will also be a parking lot for customers and an outdoor barbecue and patio area.
Built with $20 million in Measure A bond funds, the new facility could help the college’s culinary arts program expand. Michael Salinger, co-chair of the consumer and family studies department, told the North Bay Business Journal in March that those expansions could include certificate categories such as vegetarian cooking, butchery and catering.
“From the beginning, the primary purpose has been to create a state-of-the-art instructional facility with teaching kitchens and spacious classrooms with seating for approximately 72 students,” he said in March. “The Burdo Center is also a place where students can hone their hospitality and culinary skills while also learning to manage and operate a working dining establishment and interact with customers. The objective is to prepare them for entry into a local tourism and hospitality industry generating an estimated $2 billion a year in local revenue here in Sonoma County.”
The structure echoes the architectural heritage of the 93-year-old college, with the brick exterior and tiled roofing common on the main campus. Three main contractors have worked on the project — Brown Construction, Petersen Mechanical and McClure Electric. BSA Architects designed the building, and KPFF Consulting Engineers was the engineer. Wright Contracting was the construction manager.
Like other buildings on the campus, the center uses a variety of energy and cost-saving approaches. Those include recycled materials used for carpeting, and energy conservation systems that will help the facility to outperform standard energy requirements by five to ten percent.
Plans for the new center began in 2003, the same year that the college leased 5,500 square feet of space in Santa Rosa’s Brickyard Center, on the corner of Seventh and B Streets, to make room for the growing program. Students currently take production courses at the Brickyard and introductory courses at the campus’s Garcia Hall — both sides will move to the B. Robert Burdo Culinary Arts Center.
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