$20 million facility named for trustee B. Robert Burdo
[caption id="attachment_31655" align="alignleft" width="288" caption=""The SRJC Culinary Arts Program has a very special place in my heart," said John Ash, a James Beard award-winning author, chef, educator and principal of John Ash & Co. "I first began to teach there more than 25 years ago and that experience changed the direction of my life. … We are so lucky to have this unique resource in our community.""][/caption]
The new Culinary Arts Center will be the latest academic addition to the Santa Rosa Junior College campus.
Culinary Arts is one of SRJC's leading Career and Technical Education programs preparing students for a variety of careers in a region renowned for food, wine and exceptional hospitality.
Designed first and foremost as a learning center, the center's mission includes serving as a home for five commercial kitchens, three classrooms, a retail bakery, a wine library and a 100-seat culinary cafe open to the public.
The new facility across from the main campus on Mendocino Avenue has been named for B. Robert Burdo, who has served on SRJC's Board of Trustees for over 25 years, and who recently started another four-year term. He has served as board clerk, vice president and later as board president on four different occasions.
For 24 years he has been a member of the facilities committee, including one of the most high growth periods for the college. During his tenure, the Public Safety Training Center in Windsor was built along with the Petaluma SRJC Campus, the new Doyle Library, a three-story parking structure as well as the Culinary Arts Center.
"Bob's deep interest in education, food, and community service make the naming of the beautiful Culinary Arts Center in his honor a perfect match," said Tony Ichsan, dean of facilities planning and operations for the Sonoma County Junior College District.
Built at a cost of $20 million with Measure A bond funds, the center is located at 1670 N. Mendocino Ave. It will have four times the space as the previous location. The 20-month construction project for this 22,000-square-foot, two-story structure began in April 2010 and is scheduled for completion in December 2011.
Three prime contractors are working on this project -- Brown Construction, Petersen Mechanical and McClure Electric -- in cooperation with a number of sub-contractors. This structure will have a brick exterior and tiled roof in keeping with architectural heritage of the campus and to complement existing buildings such as Pioneer Hall, the Frank P. Doyle Library and the Lawrence A. Bertolini Student Services Center.
Plans for a permanent home for Culinary Arts date back to 2003 when the program outgrew its original site at Garcia Hall. That year a temporary center with 5,500 square feet of space was leased at the corner of Seventh and B Streets in the Brickyard Center of Santa Rosa. While some introductory courses are still being taught at Garcia Hall on the Santa Rosa campus, production classes are offered at the Brickyard. With the completion of the new building, all of these courses will be consolidated at the new location.
"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," said Michael Salinger, chair of the SRJC consumer and family studies department. "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."