Across Mendocino from main campus; will allow program to grow

SANTA ROSA – Santa Rosa Junior College has broken ground on the new Culinary Arts building across the street from the main campus on Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa.

[caption id="attachment_21975" align="alignright" width="324" caption="Sanra Rosa Junior College new Culinary Arts building rendering by BSA Bull Stockwell Allen Architects"][/caption]

The B. Robert Burdo Culinary Arts Center, named for a long-time member of the board of trustees, will take the place of the current facilities at the Brickyard Center downtown and at Garcia Hall.

The expectation is that courses will begin in the spring of 2012 in the two-story facility that includes three classrooms, two teaching kitchens, a restaurant, bakery, offices and more.

Betsy Fischer, "front house" operations instructor in the culinary program, said it is a dream come true.

“As much as we have been successful here in the Brickyard Center, we feel we are a little way from home,” she said.

The $20 million, 22,000-square-foot project was designed by BSA Bull Stockwell Allen Architects in San Francisco. In addition to the Lawrence A. Bertolini Student Services Center and the Don Zumwalt Parking Pavilion at the college, BSA also has designed numerous other projects in the North Bay. The exterior design is reflective of the college's architectural theme.

The project is being funded by Sonoma County's $251.7 million Bond Measure A passed in 2002 by voters. The bond has funded the Petaluma campus expansion, the Bertolini Student Services Center, the Doyle Library and the parking structure.

While the project has been in the works for five years, Ms. Fischer said that Michael Salinger, the chef instructor and Culinary Arts Program coordinator, has had this dream for the last 10 years.

The program started 20 years ago in Garcia Hall on the main campus. The program grew and needed more space,  and they found the 5,500-square-foot downtown facility and moved in there in 2003.

The culinary arts program provides a course of study leading to certificates of completion in several areas including culinary arts, baking and pastry, front-house operations, dining room service and restaurant operations.

Classes are scheduled in eight-week blocks, allowing frequent entry into the program. Many of the Culinary Arts faculty members are professional chefs with extensive backgrounds in the food business. Several are graduates of professional culinary academies.

“This expansion will allow us to increase our enrollment and add new certificates,” Ms. Fischer said.

She said there have been several ideas for certificates, but the ones most likely to be next are vegetarian cooking, butchery and catering.

Additionally, she said they are excited to know they will gain a new market by being across the street from the college.

There will be dedicated parking for the restaurant and bakery, she noted.